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Canada Beef Int'l Institute Announces Closure of S. Korea Office, Effective Immediately
A cow in a Canadian farm

Oct. 4, 2013 – Calgary, Alberta — As part of its commitment to growing market opportunities for Canadian beef and veal producers, Canada Beef International Institute (CBII) has maintained an office in Seoul, along with its offices in Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mexico. In order to develop and sustain relationships with key industry partners and supporters of the Canadian beef and veal industry, CBII maintained its presence in Korea even during Korea’s nine-year BSE ban on Canadian beef.

Despite the re-opening of the Korean market to Canadian beef exports in 2012 (3.5-years after Korea re-opened its market to U.S. beef), sales of Canadian beef remain below 1 percent of total import market share. This is explained in large part by the increasingly preferential access given to beef producers in the United States through the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which is preventing Canadian producers from competing fairly in the Korean market.

We understand that the Government of Canada has proactively re-engaged with Korea since early 2012 and made extensive efforts to conclude the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) negotiations on an expedited basis. Unfortunately, despite significant Canadian efforts over the past 18 months, the CKFTA negotiations have not progressed.

The CKFTA would be beneficial for both Canada and Korea, providing Korean consumers with better and more economical access to high-quality Canadian agricultural products, also leading to increased food security and consumer choice. Given that the CKFTA would be so clearly in Korea's own interest, the failure to advance the talks to closure is inexplicable to CBII.

The Korean government's approach on the CKFTA is having a decidedly negative impact on Canadian producers, effectively forcing us from the Korean market. It is negatively impacting the bilateral commercial relationship. The absence of a CKFTA, which is causing an increasingly disadvantageous tariff differential for Canadian suppliers relative to their competitors (notably in the U.S.), has led CBII to take the difficult decision to close the CBII office in Seoul, effective immediately.

CBII calls on the Korean government to work productively with the Government of Canada to close the CKFTA in the immediate term, to restore a level playing field for Canadian producers in the Korean market.

In the meantime, additional CBII marketing and staff resources are being added to the Canada Beef Japan and mainland China offices. With the acceptance of beef from cattle under 30 months of age, Canadian beef and veal market opportunities in Japan have increased significantly.

As well, strong economic growth in China with additional Canadian processing plants approved for export has seen exports double over the past year. In order to support the increased investment in Japan and China, resources from other markets will be redirected as needed.

Canada Beef is the cattle producer-funded and run organization responsible for domestic and international beef and veal market development. It has offices in Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Canada Beef works to foster loyalty to the Canadian beef brand and build strong relationships with trade customers and partners. These efforts increase demand for Canadian beef and veal and the value producers receive for their cattle.






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