Call for Resumption of Trade Talks with South Korea

by 5m Editor
5 July 2011, at 10:27am

CANADA - A coalition of Canadian agricultural commodity groups is calling on Canada's premiers and agriculture ministers to express their support the immediate resumption of free trade talks with the Republic of Korea, Bruce Cochrane writes.

Leaders of nine of Canada's major agri-food sectors have drafted a letter outlining their concern over the lack of progress in discussions aimed at securing a free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea and are calling on Canada's premiers and agriculture ministers to support a resumption of negotiations when they gather at the upcoming Council of the Federation Meeting in Vancouver later this month.

Canadian Pork Council president Jurgen Preugschas notes, while free trade negotiations between Canada and South Korea have been stalled since 2008, Canada's major competitors in the pork industry including the United States, the European Union and Chile have negotiated their own free trade agreements with South Korea.

Jurgen Preugschas-Canadian Pork Council

The one with the US right now is in front congress and the senate and it's expected that they'll ratify it before the summer recess.

Chile and the EU have both signed.

In fact on 1 July the EU free trade deal came into effect.

What that does is it puts those countries who have signed free trade deals, it gives them access over time of zero tariffs especially on pork and beef and grains and oilseeds.

I know specifically on the pork side our sales have been dropping already because importers are anticipating the US to have lower tariffs than we do and suddenly the pork will all come from the US and Chile rather than from Canada where historically we've been a major player.

Mr Preugschas believes this is one of the largest issues facing not only hog producers but agricultural producers across Canada in many years and he encourages all of Canada's politicians to get behind this and get a deal signed to keep Canada competitive with the rest of the world.