The Canadian government is asking the World Trade Organization to begin consultations with South Korea on that country's refusal to permit Canadian beef imports. Canadian beef imports were banned by South Korea in May of 2003 when bovine spongiform encephalopathy was discovered in one Canadian cow. Since then, the World Organization for Animal Health has placed Canada on the list of controlled-risk counties for BSE. So far, Seoul has not recognized the effectiveness of Canada's surveillance, mitigation and eradication measures.
Canada's International Trade Minister, Stockwell Day, said in a news release that Canada has a robust trade relationship with South Korea, so it is unfortunate that they have not been able to settle this issue and reopen South Korean markets to Canadian beef.
WTO consultations are a formal opportunity for trading partners to resolve disputes through discussions. If such efforts fail, Canada may ask that the matter be taken up by a WTO dispute settlement panel.