British Columbia's high quality cherries will soon be tickling the tastebuds of South Korea.
Since 2015, Canada has been working with South Korea to gain access to the market for B.C.'s fresh cherries as a part of a free trade agreement between the countries.
Under the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, in force since that year, tariffs on Canadian cherries have dropped from 24% to 4.8%, with full elimination by 2024.
"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," said the Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
"This step demonstrates our government's commitment to get Canadian businesses into new and existing markets and stimulate economic growth."
Recent expansion in acreage and production volume has made cherries Canada's second largest fruit crop behind blueberries, and B.C. already produces 95 per cent of Canada's cherries.
"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," explained Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade.
Canada's success in agriculture depends heavily on the country's ability to export around the globe.
"The BC Cherry Association is extremely pleased that efforts from government and industry have secured access to the South Korean market for Canadian cherries," said BC Cherry Association President Sukhpaul Bal.
"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."
Canada's exports of sweet cherries continues to grow each year, reaching $78 million in 2021.