Canada Calls on WTO Over Korean Beef Ban

CANADA - The Government of Canada is calling on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to begin consultations to address South Korea’s continuing unjustified ban on the importation of Canadian beef, the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, announced today.
calendar icon 14 April 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

“We are disappointed to have to launch this action, as we had hoped to resolve our differences through negotiation,” said Minister Day. “Canada has a robust trade relationship with South Korea, so it is unfortunate that we have not been able to settle this issue and reopen South Korean markets to Canadian beef.”

WTO consultations provide parties with an opportunity to resolve a dispute through discussions. If consultations fail to resolve the matter, the complaining party may request that the matter be referred to a WTO dispute settlement panel.

“We are now taking the necessary steps to defend Canadian beef producers,” said Minister Day. “South Korea represents a key market for them, and we are going the extra mile to get the door open.”

“This government continues to take a strong stand for Canadian producers on the issue of market access in South Korea,” said the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “We are committed to a respectful working relationship with South Korea, but we have always made it clear that it is unacceptable to discriminate against Canadian producers. This consultation is a formal opportunity for us to work with South Korea to resolve this issue, as well as a strong signal that we will stand up for Canadian producers.”

In May 2003, South Korea banned imports of Canadian beef after bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was discovered in a Canadian cow. In May 2007, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) officially categorized Canada as a “Controlled BSE Risk” country, recognizing the effectiveness of Canada’s surveillance, mitigation and eradication measures.

Canada is pleased that so many of its trading partners have accepted the OIE’s recognition of Canada’s status and have removed BSE restrictions on Canadian beef. In 2008, Canada exported beef to more than 55 countries.

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