OTTAWA, Ontario – Canada’s Ministers for agriculture and international trade said they are taking steps to formally terminate a World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel on South Korea’s ban on Canadian beef.

South Korea banned Canadian beef imports in May 2003 following Canada’s first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Canada requested the formation of the WTO panel in August 2009 to defend Canada’s interests. The most significant trade barrier between the two countries was removed once South Korea resumed imports of Canadian beef.

“In light of the restored access and resumption of exports since January of world-class Canadian beef to the South Korean market, I’ve instructed officials to work with their South Korean counterparts to terminate Canada’s WTO challenge,” said Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway. “Working with our South Korean partners, we will continue to build on this positive momentum to deepen our trade relationship.”

More than 30 commercial shipments of Canadian beef have cleared South Korean customs, according to the Canadian government. South Korea is the last major Asian market to lift its ban on Canadian beef. The South Korean beef market could reach a value of $30 million by 2015, and exports of Canadian agri-food exports to South Korea were worth approximately $1.1 billion in 2011.