Officials from Canada and South Korea resume technical negotiations Nov. 3-4, focused on restoring Korean market access for Canadian beef, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz confirmed Wednesday.
Korea’s ports have been closed to imports of Canadian beef since May 2003, after officials confirmed Canada’s first home-grown case of BSE in an Alberta cow. The market was previously Canada’s fourth-biggest for beef, worth about $50 million in sales per year.
The negotiations next month will focus on “creating increased export opportunities for Canadian beef,” the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said in a release Wednesday.
“Restoring market access in Korea will allow Korean consumers to enjoy high-quality Canadian products at competitive prices, as enjoyed in many other markets around the world,” CFIA said.
CFIA noted again in its release that Canada has been ranked by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as a “controlled risk” country for BSE since May last year.
“According to OIE guidelines, there should be no restrictions on trade and Canada is requesting all trading partners to provide full market access to Canadian beef and beef products,” CFIA said.
Officials in Seoul had been quoted last week by the Korean news agency Yonhap as saying talks with Canada would resume in early November.