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South Korea Free Trade Discussion Needs Quick Action

08 January 2014

CANADA - The executive director of the Canadian Pork Council says the quicker Canada can achieve a free trade agreement with South Korea, the quicker the Canadian pork industry will be able to catch up to its major competitors in that market.

While free trade negotiations between Canada and the Republic of Korea have been stalled since 2008 Canada's major competitors in the pork industry, most notably the United States and Europe, have negotiated free trade agreements under which duties on their pork, 25 percent on chilled product and 22.5 per cent on frozen, will be phased out over ten years.

Canadian Pork Council executive director Martin Rice notes, possibly in connection with Korea's interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and needing the agreement of TPP members to be brought into the negotiations, Korea has recently openly indicated an interest in completing trade agreements with Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Clip-Martin Rice-Canadian Pork Council said: "It would be wonderful to see a Canada Korean agreement be finished and accepted by Canadian Parliament as well as the Korean Parliament and in place by 2015."

He added: "That would require everything to go fairly smoothly."

If that could be accomplished we would be three years behind the U.S. and Europe in looking at our reduction of the tariffs going into Korea so the timing of it is of great importance as much as the reduction of tariffs.

Mr Rice said pork producers would like to see Canada achieve an agreement with South Korea that has terms that are as close as possible to those of the United States and to get it implemented at the earliest opportunity to lessen the gap between the terms of Canada's exports into South Korea versus the U.S. and Europe's.

Then, he says, the expectation would be that in less than a decade the Canadian pork industry would be back to having the same terms of access as its competitors.

ThePigSite News Desk

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