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Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement helps agriculture across the country

Beef and pork producers hope to see improvements

By Diego Flammini,

January 1st, 2015 marks the beginning of a new calendar year, but also the first in a multi-year initiative between Canada and South Korea that can have major implications on the country’s agricultural sector.

The Korean Nation Assembly ratified the deal on December 2nd, officially putting the agreement into motion for the new year.

Once the CKFTA is fully implemented, the understanding is that Canada will eliminate nearly 100% of tariffs on goods imported from South Korea. In return, South Korea will completely eliminate tariffs on non-agricultural goods and 97% of current agricultural exports.

The department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development reported $707.8 million in agriculture and agri-food exports to South Korea between 2010 and 2012. Of all the agricultural exports, wheat was the top earner with $273.6 million, followed by pork at $133 million.

Pork producers in Manitoba hope this signing will help recover lost sales.

Andrew Dickson, General Manager of Manitoba Pork estimates that between 2011 and 2013, the province lost close to $70 million in 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 themselves.”

Farmers specializing in beef production are also in a position for growth.

“Implementing of the CKFTA will allow the Canadian beef and pork sectors to begin the process of reclaiming our share of the important Korean market,” said Jim Laws, Executive Director of the Canadian Meat Council. “Exports of beef and veal tumbled from $234 million in 2011 to $84 million in 2013.”

When Korean President Park Geun-Hye and the Prime Minister’s office signed the agreement on September 22nd, it was called “the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history.”

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