OTTAWA, Ontario – A free trade agreement between Canada and South Korea received royal assent on Dec. 3, putting the agreement on track to come into force Jan. 1, 2015. Royal assent is the process by which a bill becomes an act of Parliament and part of the law of Canada. The South Korean Assembly passed a ratification bill on Dec. 2.

The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) is Canada's first bilateral FTA in the Asia-Pacific region. The CKFTA is expected to boost Canada's economy by $1.7 billion and increase Canadian exports to South Korea by 32 percent.

For Canadian meat producers, the agreement means regaining competitive access to South Korea and boost to meat exports. Beef and pork exports are expected to rebound and surpass previous highs. South Korea's import demand exceeds $2 billion for beef and pork products annually.

"I am very pleased that the CKFTA will be in place on time to restore a competitive position for Canadian beef in the Korean market," said Dave Solverson, president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association.