Most of the talk surrounding the winners of the Canada – South Korea Free Trade Agreement is on beef and pork, however many other ag products will benefit in a big way, including barley.

Alberta Barley Chairman Matt Sawyer tells Rural Roots Canada the agreement means Canada will once again be competitive in that market, meaning farmers here will profit more.

“We look at the demands on the livestock sector, beef and pork and the mutual interest we have here in Alberta for the feed that goes into the beef and pork, so a win for them is a win for us and it certainly keeps Canada competitive,” said Sawyer.  “We certainly know the other countries, the U.S., Australia and E.U. have an agreement in place, this puts us on a level playing field with them and we need this to be competitive and profitable for our producers.”

Canada currently exports over $600 Million worth of agri-food products every year, which is down from $1 – Billion in 2011, Sawyer says this agreement should also help farmers growing malt grade barley.

Barley Council of Canada Chair Brian Otto believes the deal represents significant value for Canada’s barley producers and industry members.

In a statement, Otto says South Korea is a priority market for their industry.  

“This anticipated agreement will give Canada’s barley value chain a competitive edge in accessing this market,” said Otto.

He echoes Sawyer’s comments that a win for the beef and pork sectors is a win for barley producers.

“Bilateral trade agreements are the backbone of our economy,” said Otto. “The CKFTA will allow Canadian farmers to take advantage of increased export opportunities and develop our presence in Northeast Asia.”

Canada is the world’s fifth largest agri-food exporter in the world, generating more than $40-billion each year through its beef, malting barley, pork, wheat and canola supply.

The Malting Industry Association of Canada is delighted with the free trade deal.   MIAC President Phil de Kemp says eliminating tariffs and liberalizing trade globally for malty is critically important.

“This agreement will now provide Canadian maltsters not only competitive export stability in this market, but opens the door for what we believe will be increased sales moving forward” says MIAC president Phil de Kemp.

Alberta Barley’s Matt Sawyer agrees.

“The CKFTA is going to gradually remove historically high tariffs from Canada agri-food exports and this and we know this is going to have a positive impact on malt, which Canada exports at about 25,000 tonnes per year to South Korea.  So we are looking at this to increase that and anytime you can increase demand for Canadian products that’s a win for producers, so we’re excited about that,” said Sawyer.

Canada is the second largest exporter of malt in the world. Malt exports account for over 65% of our production and is shipped to our brewing customers in over 20 countries around the globe.