Canadian Meat Council Calls for Resumption of Canada-South Korea Free Trade Discussions

Farmscape for October 27, 2011   (Episode 3993)

The Canadian Meat Council says with the recent ratification by the U.S. congress of a U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement its critical for Canada to work toward its own deal with that nation.

Earlier this month the United States Congress ratified a free trade agreement with South Korea that will see tariffs on U.S. pork entering that market phased out over ten years and on U.S. beef over 15 years.

Jim Laws, the executive director of the Canadian Meat Council, says once the Americans start to get preferential tariffs on beef and pork Canada simply won't be able to compete.

Clip-Jim Laws-Canadian Meat Council:
It's quite ironic that Canada is finally, it looks like we're very very close to working out the technical issuers surrounding resumption of trade for Canadian beef.

South Korea is the last major market that remains closed to Canadian beef after our BSE event of 2003.

It's pretty ironic that the government of Canada has not been engaging in this market at the same time as we could have access.

Even this year for pork for instance, we have been selling typically around 100 million dollars worth of Canadian pork into South Korea for many years.

We've been in there in fact since the mid-90s when South Korea opened up their markets and this year, with the problem with foot and mouth in South Korea, we may by the end of this year actually export about 300 million dollars worth of Canadian pork to South Korea.

So not having a chance to compete in that market would be quite devastating for the Canadian industry.

Laws notes the U.S. agreement has already passed through the U.S. congress and the Korean government is in the process of passing the deal so timing is critical.

He applauds the Canadian government's efforts in working toward a Canada-EU agreement but he stresses South Korea is also important so it's critical for our trade officials to get in touch with the Koreans and make it clear they want to restart these negotiations.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council