South Korea to Lift Ban on Canadian Beef Imports

Posted June 28th, 2011 at 1:50 am (UTC-5)
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South Korea has agreed to end its eight-year-old ban on beef imports from Canada imposed after an outbreak of mad cow disease in the North American country.

The Agriculture Ministry announced Tuesday that South Korea has agreed to accept Canadian beef from cows aged 30 months old or younger. The ministry says the deal will be submitted to parliament for review and final approval.

Seoul banned Canadian beef imports in 2003 after Ottawa reported its first case of mad cow disease , a debilitating and deadly brain disease that could pose a risk to humans. South Korea was Canada's fourth-largest market for its beef exports before the ban, buying $31 million worth of beef a year.

The agriculture ministry says Canada hopes to resume the beef exports by the end of the year.

The World Organization for Animal Health declared Canada a “BSE controlled risk” nation in 2007, but South Korea continued the ban after 17 additional reports of mad cow disease since 2003.

Canada filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over South Korea's ban in 2009, but has agreed to withdraw it under the terms of the deal. The agreement bans imports of beef containing specific cow parts that pose a risk of carrying mad cow disease, including brains, skulls, eyes and spinal cords.

South Korea lifted a similar ban on U.S. beef imports in 2008.