Canada, Korea to restart beef talks

Officials from Canada and South Korea were set to resume technical negotiations Nov. 3-4, focused on restoring Korean market access for Canadian beef, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz confirmed recently.

Korea’s ports have been closed to imports of Canadian beef since May 2003, after officials confirmed Canada’s first homegrown 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 Canada Beef Export Federation welcomed the news, citing Korean industry media reports that the Korean government intends to offer Canada access for all edible beef products (boneless, bone-in and offal) derived from cattle less than 30 months of age.

“This would represent commercially viable access to the Korean market for the

Canadian beef and veal industry,” said CBEF president Ted Haney in a release Friday. “This would be a very welcome and long-awaited development, representing great value to Canadian cattle producers.

“At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that, for controlled-risk BSE countries, the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) allows for trade in all edible beef products derived from cattle of all ages, subject to standard SRM removal – including Canada. This is full trade normalization and this is our goal in Korea.”

Talks be twe en the two countries last took place in November 2007, at which time CBEF said they stalled while Korea focused on reaching a beef access agreement with the U. S.

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