03/11/2014 04:03 EDT | Updated 05/11/2014 05:59 EDT

Saskatchewan says South Korea trade deal good for grain, beef, pork producers

REGINA - The Saskatchewan government says a free-trade deal between Canada and South Korea is a real opportunity for the province's grain, oilseed, beef and pork producers.

The government says the province has lost out to U.S., European and other international competitors because of free trade agreements those countries already have with Korea.

It says Saskatchewan agri-food exports fell to about $50 million in 2013 from more than $225 million in 2011 — a drop of nearly 80 per cent.

Wheat sent to Korea from Saskatchewan was down to $33 million from $195 million and canola exports fell to $3 million from $22 million.

Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart says the new deal will allow producers to regain market share.

The agreement puts an end to nearly a decade of on-again, off-again talks, and marks Canada's first free-trade foray into the Asia-Pacific region.