Industry Urges Resumption of FTA with South Korea

by 5m Editor
25 October 2011, at 7:53am

CANADA - In the wake of the ratification of a US free trade agreement (FTA) with the Republic of Korea, Canada's red meat industry is again urging Ottawa to resume negotiations aimed at securing a Canada-South Korea FTA, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Under terms of a South Korea-US free trade agreement ratified by the US Congress earlier this month, import duties on US pork entering South Korea will be phased out over 10 years.

The Canadian Pork Council, Canada Pork International, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and the Canadian Meat Council are urging the Government of Canada to resume talks that have been stalled since 2008 aimed at securing a Canada-South Korea free trade agreement.

Canadian Pork Council president, Jurgen Preugschas, says the impact of the US deal on Canada's ability to access that market will be immediate.

Jurgen Preugschas – Canadian Pork Council

The agreement is to take effect early 2012 and once that happens, there's an immediate reduction of tariffs on American product going in.

Once that happens then, of course, we're immediately at that percentage point below and then over the term of the agreement those tariffs are going to drop to zero.

Even if we get an agreement at a later date, we'll always be behind so what that means for Canadian processors and traders is that they're not going to be able to compete to bring product over there.

What they're already realising is that South Korean buyers want to establish long-term relationships and they're establishing those with the Europeans and the Americans in light of the fact that those free trade deals are there – so already it's affecting our Canadian traders.

Mr Preugschas says every day we wait, it costs the Canadian pork industry money so the sooner Canada can get back to the table and finalise an agreement, the lower the negative impact will be so time is of the essence.

Further Reading

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