For Canadian farmers, South Korea deal a chance to catch up

Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:26pm EDT
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* Wheat, canola, whisky tariffs fall with implementation

* Canada aims to close beef tariff gap with United States

* Pork exporters look for sales rebound

By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, March 11 (Reuters) - Canadian beef and pork exporters say Canada's free trade agreement with South Korea will help them regain market share in the Asian country, which has recently turned to supplies from the United States and other countries that struck deals first.

Canada and South Korea said earlier on Tuesday they had wrapped up talks on a long-delayed free trade deal, Canada's first in fast-growing Asia.

The pact is also expected to shore up demand for Canadian farm products like wheat, canola and rye whisky, all of which will see immediate tariff-free access upon implementation of the deal, likely next year.

Disputes about autos and beef held up the deal, which was nearly a decade in the making. South Korea was one of many nations to ban Canadian beef after a 2003 outbreak of mad cow disease, and one of the last to restore trade in 2012, removing a major irritant.

In the meantime, however, the United States' trade pact with South Korea came into force two years ago.   Continued...