Agriculture producers applaud free trade deal with South Korea

Will Kingma has one complaint about the Canada-South Korea free trade agreement announced by the federal government this week. It didn’t happen sooner.

Will Kingma has one complaint about the Canada-South Korea free trade agreement announced by the federal government this week.

It didn’t happen sooner.

“It should have been done earlier, but at least it’s done and we’re moving forward on it,” said the owner of Kingdom Farms near Bentley.

Kingma, who is a director with Alberta Pork, said it was critical that Canada follow the United States’ lead in striking a deal with the Asian country to eliminate tariffs on pork. The value of Canadian pork exports to South Korea had dropped from $223 million in 2011 to $129 million in 2012 and $76 million last year.

“We are playing a little bit of catch-up, but at least we’re back on the table,” said Kingma.

Doug Sawyer, a Pine Lake-area beef producer and member of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s executive committee, echoed Kingma’s assessment.

“One of the biggest issues for the Canadian industry was the U.S. got a trade deal with them two years ago. So they’re two years ahead of us in lowering the tariffs.

“We were at a do-or-die point.”

Canadian beef exports to Korea, which were $40 million a year prior to the BSE crisis, reached just $7.8 million last year — with the United States’ favourable trading position preventing this figure from growing.

Terry Young, a Lacombe-area farmer who sits on the Alberta Wheat Commission and the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, said the benefits of liberalized trade with South Korea will extend beyond the livestock sectors. Not only will domestic demand for feed grain likely increase, canola and cereal grains grown in Canada will now face the same tariffs as competing products from the United States and other countries with trade agreements with South Korea.

Exports of Canadian canola to South Korea has ranged from $60 million to $90 million in recent years, while annual wheat shipments averaged $273 million from 2010 to 2012.

“As a producer, or an industry, we’re always looking for a level playing field,” said Young.

In addition to helping the Canadian agriculture industry maintain and grow its share of the market in Korea, the agreement should widen the door for expanded trade with other parts of Asia. This is important because the standard of living is rising there, and with it demand for protein and other food products, said Kingma and Young.

Market diversification protects livestock producers from border closures and other trade impediments, said Sawyer, but in the case of Asia it also increases the value they can get for their animals. He explained that demand for specific parts of a beef cow varies from country to country, so shipments can be customized to the tastes of each market.

“We can add, literally, hundreds of dollars to the value of a beef animal by getting an extra buck or two on this product, an extra buck or two on that product — by getting them sent to the highest value market.”

Young applauds the federal government for its efforts to negotiate international trade agreements, which he said are critical for Canadian agriculture — and the broader economy.

“It’s a renewable sector, and it’s fundamental to the economy.”

Sawyer agreed.

“They recognize the value of the agriculture industry within Canada, and particularly in Alberta, as a real economic stabilizer and a big economic player.”

The trade deal with South Korea covers both agricultural and non-agricultural products. Included is a phase-out of the 6.1 per cent import duty on vehicles and auto parts manufactured in South Korea.

Information from Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. provided by Gary Moe Hyundai in Red Deer pointed out that the agreement has yet to be ratified and will have no immediate impact on the Korean automaker’s business in Canada. It added that much of the product Hyundai sells in Canada is manufactured in North America, and is not subject to the import duty.

Just Posted

Patrons practice on a putting green as the Whitestone Bridge looms in the distance at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx borough of New York on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Former President Donald Trump has a rich history of fighting back when he’s down and making others pay, and that’s exactly how he intends to deal with New York City over its plans to fire his company from running the city golf course. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Dump Trump? Kicking him off NYC golf course may not be easy

Trump Organization has been reeling after the Capitol riots

A photo illustration made December 14, 2012 in Montreal shows a computer in chains. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Irish health system says it’s targeted in ransomware attack

Health care systems have been a target before

A woman wearing a mask talks on her phone near an exhibition depicting a rover in Mars in Beijing on Friday, May 14, 2021. China says its Mars probe and accompanying rover are to land on the red planet sometime between early Saturday morning and Wednesday Beijing time. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
China Mars rover to land between Saturday and Wednesday

Only the United States has successfully landed a spacecraft on Mars

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Weary Palestinians are somberly marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as Hamas and Israel traded more rockets and airstrikes and Jewish-Arab violence raged across Israel. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Palestinians flee as Israeli artillery pounds northern Gaza

Israel called up 9,000 reservists as fighting intensifies

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Team Canada’s head coach Troy Ryan talks with players before the start of the of the Rivalry Series at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, February 3, 2020. Ryan of Spryfield, N.S., has been named head coach of Canada’s women’s hockey team for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Troy Ryan to coach Canadian women’s hockey team in 2022 Winter Olympics

Ryan was Canada’s assistant coach from 2016 to 2019

FILE- In this April 19, 2021, file photo, people wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus wait to test for COVID-19 at a hospital in Hyderabad, India. Misinformation about the coronavirus is surging in India as the death toll from COVID-19 rises. Fueled by anguish, distrust and political polarization, the claims are further compounding India’s crisis. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A, File)
Misinformation surges amid India’s COVID-19 calamity

Distrust of Western vaccines and health care also driving misinformation

FILE - In this Friday March 6, 2020, file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry visits the Silverstone Circuit, in Towcester, England. In an episode of the “Armchair Expert” podcast broadcast Thursday, May 13, 2021, Prince Harry compared his royal experience to being on “The Truman Show” and “living in a zoo.” (Peter Nicholls/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Prince Harry thought about quitting royal life in his 20s

Feared his family would have to deal with the same spotlight that was on his late mother

Mental health: Gossiping, backbiting and forming factions is unhealthy

We all know of dysfunctional organizations, which can be as troublesome as… Continue reading

Family practice physician Christina Tuomi, D.O., (right) gets Homer's first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine from Emergency Department nurse Steve Hughes (left) on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska. Tuomi has been the hospital's medical lead throughout the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
Alberta physicians: Vaccines are our path forward

As the AMA representatives for Alberta’s family physicians, we were immensely relieved… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, right, drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, left, and guard Jalen Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

Most Read