CANADA - The general manager of Manitoba Pork says implementation of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement comes as particularly good news to Manitoba, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Implementing legislation for the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement received Royal Assent in Canada last month and was ratified by the Korean National Assembly last week, clearing the way for the deal to take effect on 1 January.
Under that agreement Korean tariffs on Canadian pork will be phased out over five years.
Andrew Dickson, the general manager of Manitoba Pork, says Manitoba pork products had been gaining in popularity in South Korea but the Americans were able to negotiate a tariff rate reduction that gave them an advantage.
Andrew Dickson - Manitoba Pork:
In 2011 for example from Manitoba we had actually sold over C$80,000,000 worth of product into the South Korean market and by 2013 we were down to C$11,000,000 worth of sales into Korea.
That's a loss of over C$70,000,000 in annual sales because of the differential between the tariff rates the Koreans were putting on Canadian pork versus the rates that the Americans were able to negotiate for themselves.
At the same time the European Union and Chile also negotiated preferential trade agreements with South Korea and that meant the competition for product going into South Korea was even more intense.
The strange thing is the Korean market for imports is actually growing rapidly.
Last year it was up 13 per cent while Canadian suppliers into that market actually dropped 17 per cent.
Mr Dickson applauds the efforts of the federal government for getting this situation resolved.
He says we know certain sectors of the Canadian economy were not pleased with this development but as a trading nation, Canada cannot have the US and the EU getting a march on us that we cannot catch up.
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