CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - March 11, 2014) - Alberta Barley is confident that the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) is a positive step towards a more secure agricultural future for barley farmers.
"Canada needs this agreement to be competitive," said Alberta Barley Chairman Matt Sawyer. "As the demand for our exports grow, so too does the profitability of our local farmers."
With a population of over 50 million, South Korea is Canada's seventh largest trading partner. Currently, Canada exports over $600 million worth of agri-food products to the country every year-down from nearly $1 billion in 2011.
"We are behind the European Union, the United States and Australia in signing a free trade agreement with Korea, which means we've been at a disadvantage in that marketplace," said Sawyer.
Upon implementation, the CKFTA is expected to result in considerable benefits for the beef and pork industries. Canada's barley industry will reap the rewards of this as over 80 per cent of harvested barley goes towards feed production for livestock.
"Good news for the beef and pork industries is good news for us," added Sawyer. "The CKFTA will open up domestic markets for feed barley, as well as giving our farmers greater access to a growing export market."
The CKFTA is also expected to gradually remove historically high tariffs on Canada's agri-food exports. This will have a positive impact on malt, which Canada exports at a rate of 25,000 tonnes per year to South Korea.
Lower tariffs will allow Alberta's barley farmers to remain competitive with countries, like the United States, whose tariffs on exports to South Korea have already been phased out or eliminated.