Wednesday, September 02, 2009

WTO Panel to Hear Canada’s Challenge of South Korean Ban on Beef

WTO Panel to Hear Canada’s Challenge of South Korean Ban on Beef
(Minister for International Trade)

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today announced that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has established, at Canada’s request, a dispute settlement panel to hear Canada’s challenge of South Korea’s continuing ban on Canadian beef.

“South Korea’s continuing ban is not based on international standards or on science. This is a clear violation of South Korea’s WTO obligations,” said Minister Day. “This request by Canada demonstrates our ongoing commitment to resolving this issue and defending the interests of Canadian producers.”

The establishment of the panel follows more than six years of efforts on the part of Canada to restore access to South Korea for Canadian beef, which was banned by that country in May 2003 after bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was discovered in a Canadian cow.

“Canadian producers know that our government will always stand up for our safe, high-quality Canadian beef on the international stage,” said Minister Ritz. “The international scientific community also recognizes that Canadian beef is safe, and I’m confident that the WTO dispute panel will rule in our favour.”

The WTO panel will be asked to determine whether South Korea's continuing ban on Canadian beef is consistent with its international trade obligations under the WTO Agreement.

The panel is expected to issue its report within the next nine months.

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