Korea and Canada have resumed negotiations about the recommencement of Canadian beef imports to Korea. The trade was halted in May 2003, following the discovery of BSE in Canada.
The Korean Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries indicated that the technical consultation talks with officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will examine Ottawa’s request to regain full access to the South Korean market in accordance with a World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) ruling reached in May 2007 (Foodmarket, 2008).
The OIE gave Canada a ‘controlled risk’ classification in May 2007, which technically allows a country to export cuts from animals of all ages as long as specified risk materials (SRM’s) are removed. In November 2007, Korea and Canada failed to reach an agreement regarding the resumption of the beef trade.
If Korea resumes beef imports from Canada, it is expected that only beef cuts from animals less than 30 months of age will be permitted (with SRM’s removed), similar to Korea’s agreement with the U.S. in June 2008.
At the end of November, Korean officials will visit Canadian slaughterhouses to conduct on-site inspections to see the effectiveness of Canada’s food safety and animal health safeguards before finalising any deal (Foodmarket, 2008).
Prior to Korea’s ban on Canadian beef, Canada was the fourth largest beef importer in Korea, behind the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
Source: Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)