Canadian and Korean veterinary officials met last week to work on technical negotiations of the requirements for Canada to export beef to South Korea. Canadian beef has been banned in Korea since May 2003 when a case of BSE was discovered. Before the ban was instituted, Korea was the fourth largest buyer of Canadian beef, purchasing more than $50 million annually.
"The quality and safety of Canadian beef is recognized around the world," said Canada's Agriculture Minister, Gerry Ritz. "We are committed to providing our exporters with every possible opportunity and we are working to resume trade to Korea as soon as possible."
Canada has been categorized a Controlled Risk country for BSE by the World Heath Organization since May 2007. During the negotiations Canada is promoting the standards it had to meet to gain acceptance by OIE. Korean officials plan to conduct on-site visits to Canadian beef processing plants when they come to Canada later this month, to observe Canadian safety and animal health practices first hand.