Canada goes WTO over South Korea’s ban on beef imports

14 April 2009

According to, the Canadian government is urging the WTO to initiate consultations on South Korea's refusal to lift a ban on Canadian beef imports. ‘We are disappointed to have to launch this action, as we had hoped to resolve our differences through negotiation', International Trade Minister Stockwell Day said in a news release.

WTO consultations are a formal opportunity for trading partners to resolve disputes through discussions. If such efforts fail, Canada may ask that the matter be taken up by a WTO dispute settlement panel. ‘We are now taking the necessary steps to defend Canadian beef producers', Day said. ‘South Korea represents a key market for them, and we are going the extra mile to get the door open.'

South Korea banned imports of Canadian beef in May 2003 following the discovery of BSE in a Canadian cow. In May 2007, the World Organization for Animal Health categorised Canada as a controlled-risk country for BSE, but Seoul has yet to similarly recognize the effectiveness of Canada's surveillance, mitigation and eradication measure.

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