By Pro Farmer Editors
The Government of Canada continues to work to reopen the Korean market to its beef. Based on science and international standards, the Canadian beef industry says they have a strong case and are committed to regaining market access for Canadian exporters.
"The quality and safety of Canadian beef is recognized around the world," said Canada's Agriculture Minister, Gerry Ritz. "We are committed to providing our exporters with every possible opportunity and we are working to resume trade to Korea as soon as possible."
Canadian and Korean veterinary officials held technical negotiations November 3-4, 2008, aimed at moving toward an agreement on the import requirements for Canadian beef. Korean officials will be visiting Canada later this month to conduct on-site visits to Canadian beef slaughter facilities to see first hand the effectiveness of Canada's food safety and animal health safeguards.
Korea banned imports of Canadian beef in May 2003, after bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was discovered in a Canadian cow. Prior to that point, Korea represented the fourth-largest market for Canadian beef, with $50 million in annual sales.
In May 2007, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) officially categorized Canada as a Controlled Risk country for BSE, meaning the standards implemented in Canada meet the requirements for safe trade in a broad range of commodities.