Saskatchewan's premier is applauding a new trade deal with South Korea saying it opens up more opportunities for producers in this province.
"I've been saying our country needs to pivot to Asia to be the food power and energy power we think we can be," Brad Wall said Tuesday. "So this is a good day for the country and a particularly good day for our economy and for agriculture."
Wall said the deal, which is the first of its kind with an Asian country, will eliminate many costly duty charges on grain imports. He said prairie grains were especially penalized under these tariffs.
"Saskatchewan's trade with South Korea — our exports to that economy — were about $225 million in 2011," he said. "They're down to around $50 million right now because we have heavy duties on our agricultural products."
The market share lost by Saskatchewan was gained by producers in European Union countries as well as American producers who already operate under similar free trade agreements with Korea.
The new deal states duties will be lifted on a number of products immediately including grains such as wheat, oats and rye. The same goes for oilseed products such as canola seeds and meal, mustard seeds and golden roasted flax seed.
Mineral products such as potash as well as iron and steel will have tariffs lifted right away.
Fresh, chilled and frozen beef and pork products will not have duties lifted for five to 15 years. Pulses, honey and machinery are also included in the trade deal, but tariffs for those will take several years to lift as well.
Also, nearly all non-agricultural products from South Korea could be shipped here duty free.