CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - April 23, 2014) - The Barley Council of Canada (BCC) has laid the continued groundwork for strong trade relations in South Korea with Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.
BCC representatives Phil de Kemp and Jason Lenz met with major Korean import customers to strengthen the trade opportunity following the conclusion of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA).
"Our Council was pleased to have the opportunity to further grow relationships with this abundant market," said de Kemp. "This mission allowed us to blueprint the future for Canadian barley in Korea."
As Canada's first free trade agreement in Asia, the CKFTA holds tremendous potential for Canada's agricultural exporters. Canada currently exports 25,000 tonnes of malt barley per year to South Korea.
"We were able to safeguard current contracts for malt and secure increased exports for food barley," said de Kemp. "Exports to Korea will only increase with the phasing out of historically high tariffs."
Minister Ritz also secured commitments to increase sales of beef, pork and processed foods from a number of importers.
"This opportunity is huge for Canada's barley farmers, as we produce 9.2 million tonnes of barley in western Canada," added Lenz, a farmer from Bentley, AB. "Our entire value chain will reap the rewards of beef and pork sales, as over 80 per cent of harvested barley goes towards feed production for livestock."
Following the trip to Korea, Minister Ritz also held meetings with key agricultural trade interests in Japan to underscore the importance of making progress in negotiations for both the Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.