Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
Canadian federal officials announced yesterday that they were formally withdrawing from the World Trade Organization challenge against South Korea noting that the ban on Canadian beef was lifted in January. This has been a steady process with South Korea meeting a deal last June posed by the WTO Dispute Panel to re-open their market to beef cattle under 30 months of age. The most recent announcement has now restored full access.
"In light of the restored access and resumption of exports since January of world-class Canadian beef to the South Korean market, I’ve instructed officials to work with their South Korean counterparts to terminate Canada’s WTO challenge," Trade Minister Ed Fast said in a release.
The announcement follows talks between Minister Stephen Harper and President Lee Myung-bak at the G20 Summit in Mexico. Korea was the last key Asian market to lift the ban on Canadian beef. The Canadian Cattlemen's Association President Martin Unrau welcomes the decision noting that exports of Canadian beef to Korea have been fair, especially given the tariff advantage that US beef has. Since the ban has been lifted, there have been more than 30 shipments of commercial beef that have cleared Korean customs. But this is only a small victory, since Korea has cut US beef tariffs by imports by 2 point 7 per cent a year until it's duty free in 2026, while Canadian beef still faces the full 40 per cent tariff. The Canadian Cattlemens Association will continue to work with the government to finalize a Canada-Korea free trade agreement that will allow Canadian beef equal access to the market. If a new trade agreement can be reached it has the potential of generated $30 million in export sales by 2015.