Canada urges S Korea to remove beef, pork tariffs

Asia Times, Hong Kong

Canada urges S Korea to remove beef, pork tariffs

4 July 2006

SEOUL - Canada has urged South Korea to remove tariffs on beef and pork as part of envisioned bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), government officials said Monday.

During the sixth round of FTA talks held in Seoul, Canadian officials pressed their South Korean counterparts to add Canadian beef and pork to a list of tariff-free goods, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said.

The two countries began their first round of FTA talks in July last year and aim to reach an agreement by the end of the year.

Seoul, reported to have planned on excluding Canadian pork and beef from the list of tariff-free products, is seeking to have Canada open its auto and shipbuilding industries for South Korean goods, according to sources.

The countries plan to finish the list of potential tariff-free goods and exchange it during the seventh round of talks slated for September in Ottawa.

Canada is the sixth country or regional economic bloc to hold formal FTA talks with South Korea.

Analysts say a free trade accord would help raise bilateral trade to US$10 billion from the current $5.5 billion.

South Korea has already concluded FTAs with Chile, Singapore and the European Free Trade Association and is now in discussions on pacts with the United States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Japan.