OTTAWA, Ontario – Trade officials in Canada are celebrating a trade agreement with South Korea that will allow for the resumption of beef shipments to that country, ending a ban that lasted nearly a decade. Beef trade was interrupted in 2003 after the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Canada.

Canada’s agriculture minister, Gerry Ritz, and International Trade Minister, Ed Fast, announced on Jan. 20 that Canadian beef under 30 months of age will again be allowed into South Korea, which was Canada’s fourth-largest export market before the ban. Forecasts estimate the benefit to producers in Canada could top $30 million by 2015.

"Improved trade with South Korea is a priority for the Canadian agriculture industry and the South Korean government's co-operation in restoring access to Canadian beef will further strengthen trade relations between our two countries," said Ritz in a press release.

The agreement was made official when South Korean trade officials published its government’s approval of the Import Health Requirements and announced that certification requirements were established.

“We have consistently fought for fair and open access for our producers and exporters around the world, and against unscientific trade restrictions on Canadian products,” Fast said. "Our government has worked tirelessly to ensure the Korean market is re-opened to high-quality Canadian beef."