March 27, 2009

EU and South Korea FTA likely to benefit pork sector

The pork sector is likely to be the main agri-food sector beneficiary in the EU's tentative trade agreement with South Korea that would remove most tariffs between the countries within five years.


Frozen pork is Korea's top food import from the EU, averaging more than 50,000 tonnes annually and is likely to increase when the free trade deal takes effect.


Korean consumption of EU cheese is also likely to increase, having already jumped from 47,000 tonnes in 2003 to 72,000 tonnes last year.


However, trade officials warned that a few disagreements need to be overcome before trade ministers can sign the agreement.


EU chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero said it is the EU's most ambitious trade deal ever, but serious negotiations remained.


Opening of the pork market is one of the issues still to be finalized, and it is not known if the agreement will affect South Korea's post-BSE ban on EU beef.


Opening the automotive and agricultural markets have been sticking points, and the deal still faces serious opposition from South Korean farmers, who protested in Seoul against the deal.

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