The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is very pleased with today’s announcement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that Canada and the Republic of Korea have reached a free trade agreement (FTA).
Under the terms of the agreement, the 40 per cent Korean tariff on fresh and frozen beef will be fully eliminated in 15 equal annual steps and the 18 per cent tariff on offals will be fully eliminated in 11 equal annual steps.
The tariff has been the main impediment to accessing the Korean market since Korea lifted its BSE prohibition on Canada in early 2012, said CCA President Dave Solverson.
“For the past few years, Canada’s key beef competitor, the U.S. has enjoyed an increasing tariff advantage flowing from its FTA with South Korea. Today’s announcement means Canadian beef will be able to once again compete for meaningful access in the Korean market,” Solverson said from Seoul, where he was with Prime Minister Harper for the announcement.
The impact of the tariff disadvantage is clear. In 2002, Korea was a $40 million market for Canadian beef and its fourth largest export destination. In 2013, with a growing tariff disadvantage relative to U.S. beef, Canada exported $7.8 million. The Canada-Korea FTA will signal to Korean buyers that they can resume their relationship with Canadian beef and maintain a long-term competitive position.
“This is excellent news for Canadian beef producers,” said CCA Vice President and Foreign Trade Chair, Dan Darling. “The ability to get every piece of the animal to the highest value market is what maximizes prices at the farm gate. I particularly like that we will be getting an aggressive phase-out on offals that get more value in Korea than they do here in North America.”
The CCA thanks Prime Minister Harper and Ministers Gerry Ritz and Ed Fast for their diligence on concluding this file.