Resumption Of FTA Discussions With South Korea

CANADA - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is hopeful the recent resolution of Canada's dispute with South Korea over the BSE beef issue will result in a resumption of free trade negotiations with that nation, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 22 August 2011
clock icon 2 minute read
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Free trade negotiations between Canada and the Republic of Korea began in 2005 but discussions have been dormant since 2009.

Gilles Gauthier, the Director General and Chief Agriculture Negotiator, Trade Agreements and Negotiations with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, suggests the settlement of Canada's World Trade Organisation dispute with South Korea over the BSE beef issue is a positive signal that both sides are interested in getting free trade discussions back on track.

Gilles Gauthier-Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

There are a number of issues that are still unresolved.

Clearly our access to the Korean market for beef and pork remain outstanding.

There are issues related to the auto trade as well, including non-tariff issues related to the auto sector.

I think it's important to note, in a comprehensive trade agreement, like the one we have been negotiating, there are a number of issues that are always left for the final phase of negotiations but everything is contingent on everything.

You can't say that it is one particular issue until in fact you're at the end of the process and then everything becomes contingent on agreeing on everything.

Clearly on our side there are still a few issues remaining outstanding on our major export interests of beef and pork and on the Korean side there are a number of issues that are still not resolved including the issue of automobile exports to Canada.

Mr Gauthier acknowledges free trade agreements involving South Korea and Canada's key competitors in that market, including the European Union and the United States, are an important factor to bear in mind.

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