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South Korean beef ban lifted

Cattle producers across Canada celebrated the news that South Korea had lifted its eight-year ban on Canadian beef aged 30 months or younger Jan. 20. South Korea will begin accepting Canadian beef imports immediately.

The South Korean government published its approval of the import health requirements (IHRs) and notified the Canadian government that all certification conditions are in place.

“Canada has worked tirelessly — governments and industry together — to reopen the market,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced in a press release. “This work included an earlier request for a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel, based on science and the safety and quality of Canadian beef.”

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) also congratulated the news. The CCA has monitored South Korea’s progress closely.

“The return of safe, high-quality Canadian beef to South Korea after nearly a decade is a significant achievement and one that’s been a long time coming,” CCA president Travis Toews said in a statement.

The CCA said it would continue to work with South Korea to establish a free trade agreement and to recapture access for over-30-month beef as well, the statement said.

Manitoba also celebrated the news as the province with the third-largest beef herd in Canada. Beef cattle production is Manitoba’s third-highest-value agriculture commodity.

“As a cattle farmer, I know first hand the negative effects BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) imposed on the cattle industry,” Manitoba’s Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn said in a statement. “South Korea is an important market for Manitoba producers and regaining access to it will give farmers across the country another option when marketing beef.”

South Korea banned Canadian beef exports in 2003 after Canada’s first confirmed case of BSE was reported.

In December, Ritz announced that South Korea had taken a “major step” in lifting the ban on Canadian beef.

From 2000 to 2003, South Korea was Canada’s fourth-largest beef export market, with exports valued at roughly C$50 million to $60 million.

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