Agriculture tricky issue in FTA with Canada

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Agriculture tricky issue in FTA with Canada

The Korean government said yesterday it will hold its 10th round of free trade agreement talks with Canada next week in Seoul.
The talks, scheduled for Monday through Thursday, are expected to focus on agricultural issues, including the exchange of initial offers on farm produce, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said.
Initial offers will outline the extent and timetable for removing tariffs to facilitate free trade. The two countries held their first FTA talks in July 2005, the ministry said.
Agriculture officials said Canada may demand access to Korea’s beef, pork and barley markets.
“Canada is expected to ask for a high degree of liberalization in these areas,” said Park Chang-yong, head of the ministry's FTA division.
Seoul plans to explain the difficult situation to local farmers and to ask Canada to respect the need to protect so-called sensitive items, he said.
Meanwhile, the text of the Korea-United States FTA will be officially released to lawmakers today, said the Foreign Ministry.
The exhibit will be on condition of confidentiality. To prevent leaks, the agreement will be presented on computer screens and will only be available in English. No hard copies will be released.

By Hwang Young-jin Staff Writer [yhwang@joongang.co.kr]

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