Ag trade delegation visit to South Korea, Japan nets deals in wheat, pork, seafood

Federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz and more than 30 agricultural associations and companies have completed a trade mission to South Korea and Japan to build upon recent trade negotiations.


The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement negotiations concluded in March, and the trade trip included meetings with key importers. It also included a cooking demonstration and a venue for exporters to meet with importers.


According to a news release, the trip resulted in commitments to increased sales of wheat, pork and processed foods to Korea.


In Japan, Ritz met with the agriculture minister Yoshimasa Hayashi to discuss progress of the Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


He assured Hayashi and importers that Canada was working to fix transportation issues and timely grain exports.


Both countries are key markets for Canada.


Exports of agri-food products and seafood to Korea are worth an average $691 million per year, and Canada is that country’s 12th largest supplier of such products.


Canada is Japan’s third largest supplier, with exports of $4.1 billion in 2013. Trade negotiations continued last month with a fifth round of talks.


Ritz said the government is happy to help agricultural exporters secure ties to importers in the two Asian markets.


“With the recent conclusion of negotiations towards a Canada-Korea free trade agreement, our visit successfully set the stage for our exporters looking to increase their competitiveness in this lucrative market,” Ritz said.