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South Korea conditionally agrees to accept US beef

South Korea is set to re-open its market to US beef from cattle of all ages by mid-May. The Canadian Cattleman's Association is hopeful that Canada will recieve full access soon.


May 12, 2008
By Canadian Cattleman's Association

May 2008

On April 18, South Korea announced it would re-open its
market to
U.S. beef from cattle of all ages by
mid-May.  The resumption of trade of beef
from cattle over 30 months of age was conditional on the
United States publishing its final rule to
implement its enhanced feed ban.  The
U.S. Food and Drug Administration satisfied that condition on April 24. 

There are several things about this
agreement that are significant for
Canada. 
Most important is that we are hopeful that once
South Korea resumes full imports of U.S. beef, Canada will also receive full access
shortly thereafter. This is something the CCA is pressing the Government of
Canada to achieve.  We have a strong case
in that
Canada earned its BSE Controlled Risk
status from the OIE at the same time as the
U.S. and we have already implemented our
enhanced feed ban.

Until Canada achieves full access to Korea in its own right, Canadian cattle exporters
should be aware that any
U.S. beef exported to Korea must come from cattle that have
been fed at least 100 days in the
U.S. 
As such, some
U.S. slaughter facilities have announced
that they will not accept fed cattle direct from
Canada until this condition is lifted. 

The announcement that the U.S. will implement its enhanced feed
ban may also remove a significant impediment to expansion of trade with
Japan. 
The CCA is aware that
Japan has been concerned that the U.S. has not taken this step to date, so
we will be working with government officials to try to build some momentum in
the negotiations with
Japan.

In the longer term, the CCA sees the
possibility to restore some of the regulatory cost balance between
Canada and the U.S. once U.S. facilities also start to segregate
SRMs and will no longer be able to utilize them in any animal feed, including
pet food.  Although the
U.S. will only implement its
enhancements in April 2009, this opens the door to explore a return to a harmonized
regulatory approach in Canadian and
U.S. meat processing facilities.   

Finally, the resumption of Korean
imports of
U.S. beef will increase the likelihood
of the U.S. Congress to ratify the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement.  Under that agreement,
Korea will eliminate its 40 per cent import
tariff on
U.S. beef over 15 years.  During the phase-out period, U.S. beef will be entitled to
significant quantities of duty-free treatment. 
If
Korea resumes Canadian imports, the CCA
will work very hard to promote the completion of a similar free trade agreement
that will eventually provide for tariff-free Canadian beef exports to
Korea.

Overall, the CCA is very pleased
with this announcement as it could open the door for many positive developments
for Canadian beef. The CCA is working hard to ensure that those opportunities
come true.