Government of Canada expands market for fresh British Columbia cherries to South Korea

News release

August 10, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The growth of Canada's cherry industry is a major success story, exporting high-quality products to markets all over the world, while contributing to the economic vitality of rural communitites. Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau and the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, the Honourable Mary Ng, announced that the Government of Canada has gained market access to South Korea for British Columbia's high-quality fresh cherries.

Canada has been working collaboratively with South Korea to gain access for fresh cherries since 2015. Increased exports into South Korea has been part of British Columbia's long-term strategy to grow international markets for cherries, while securing the best price.

British Columbia's cherry industry produces 95% of Canada's sweet cherries and has an opportunity to grow even more thanks in part to the premium new cherry varieties bred at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Research Centre in Summerland, British Columbia.

With the recent expansion in acreage and production volume along with global demand, sweet cherries have now become Canada's second largest exported fruit crop behind blueberries. As the region in North America with the latest-growing cherries, British Columbia exporters have a competitive advantage when the cherries are ready to go to market in August and September.

Bilateral trade with Korea continues to grow – the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, implemented in 2015, has significantly facilitated the growth of bilateral trade through its tariff reductions and the predictable and transparent business environment it creates for respective industries. South Korea remains a priority trading partner for Canadian agri-food products. This new access provides more opportunities for Canadian growers to diversify their exports in the Indo-Pacific region.

The success of Canadian agriculture depends heavily on Canada's ability to export to the world. The Government of Canada's efforts continue to focus on enhancing Canada's market presence by working to maintain, re-open and expand market access for Canadian products.


"With new access to the South Korean market, growers in British Columbia can continue to showcase their cherries around the world and expand trading relationships. This step demonstrates our government's commitment to get Canadian businesses into new and existing markets and stimulate economic growth."

-   The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

"By continually advocating for fair market access, our government is supporting our farmers, our workers and their communities. Today's announcement on new market access for B.C. cherries provides Canadian farmers with new ways to deliver their world-class products to a growing market. Canada and South Korea enjoy an important trading relationship, built on longstanding people-to-people ties and shared values, and this announcement reflects just that".

-   The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development 

"The BC Cherry Association is extremely pleased that efforts from government and industry have secured access to the South Korean market for Canadian cherries. Our growers and industry partners look forward to building long-lasting relationships with Korean customers and cannot wait to see cherries branded with the maple leaf in stores across South Korea."

-   Sukhpaul Bal, President, British Columbia Cherry Association

"The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is pleased to see Canadian cherries access new markets after collaborative negotiations between our plant health experts and South Korea. We look forward to continuing our strong trade relationship with South Korea in the coming years and seeing the economic gains this agreement will provide for Canadian growers."

-   Kathleen Donohue, VP, International Affairs Branch, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Quick facts

  • Canada's agriculture and agri-food exports have continued to increase despite sector challenges, reaching over $82 billion in 2021 and surpassing a previous target to grow agri-food exports to at least $75 billion by 2025.

  • Canada's exports of sweet cherries continue to grow each year, reaching $78 million in 2021.

  • Under the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, in force since 2015, tariffs on Canadian cherries have dropped from 24% to 4.8%, with full elimination by 2024.

  • In agricultural trade, South Korea was the sixth-largest export destination for Canadian agri-food and seafood products in 2021.

  • In 2021, South Korea imported over $208 million of fresh cherries from around the world.

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