Issue of bone fragments is key focus at S. Korea-U.S. beef talks: official

SOUTH KOREA - South Korean and U.S. negotiators are discussing how to deal with bone fragments in U.S. beef shipments that have effectively prevented the sale of American beef on the local market, a senior government official said Wednesday.
calendar icon 7 February 2007
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"South Korea's stance on only allowing de-boned beef into the country remains unchanged, yet there is room for ideas to be exchanged on how to handle packages found to contain bone fragments," said Vice Agriculture Minister Park Hae-sang.

Park said the two sides are also exchanging views on South Korea's testing for harmful substances that resulted in the detection of dioxine in a package of beef on Dec. 22, but he did not elaborate.

Negotiators from the two countries are currently holding two days of talks in Seoul that are expected to run until Thursday.

Seoul, citing health concerns, had rejected entire shipments of U.S. beef if a single bone fragment was found. Three separate shipments totaling 22.3 tons of beef have been sent back so far.

The United States maintains that this policy impedes legitimate trade and that de-boned beef can include small bone fragments. They have also said that if the beef import issue is not resolved, ongoing free trade agreement talks could be jeopardized.

Source: Yonhap News
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