by BETTER FARMING STAFF
After an eight-year ban, South Korea's markets are once again open to Canadian beef imports.
Announcing the end of the ban on Friday, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said South Korea had served official notice that it will allow Canadian beef under 30 months to be imported effective immediately. South Korea stopped buying Canadian beef after bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, hit in 2003.
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association president Travis Toews said, ”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.”
After years of emphasizing that there is no scientific basis for the ban, Canada had sought a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel to review the ban on Canadian beef.
Last June, Canada and South Korea agreed on a process to restore access by the end of 2011, prompting Canada to formally request a suspension of the WTO proceedings.
South Korea was the last major Asian market to ban Canadian beef.
Canada Beef Inc., the marketing division of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, said reopening the market could be worth $30 million to Canadian producers by 2015. Prior to the ban, South Korea was Canada's fourth-largest beef market. BF