S. Korea ready to tackle OIE's U.S. beef risk status report, official says

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea is ready to tackle renewed beef market liberalization pressure after the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) announces U.S. mad cow disease risk levels in May, a senior official said Wednesday.
calendar icon 1 March 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
In a news conference, Vice Agriculture Minister Park Hae-sang said Seoul set up a special task force earlier in the month to examine the fallout from the OIE's planned announcement of the mad cow disease risk status for American beef.

"The team is closely watching the latest developments and examining in detail how Seoul can scientifically respond to demands by Washington for broader market liberalization," the official said.

He added that the ministry does not think the United States will receive the highest level of the three-tiered classification by the OIE because it reported three cases of mad cow disease so far.

The rating scheme of the international body classifies a country as having negligible risk, contained risk or undetermined risk. If Park's prediction is accurate, the U.S. is likely to receive the controlled risk classification.

Park said irregardless of what the OIE says, South Korea's stance remains unchanged and that it will continue to insist on not allowing boned beef into the country.

The beef import issue has become one of the main stumbling blocks to the free trade agreement talks underway between Seoul and Washington. U.S. lawmakers have threatened they will reject any agreement that does not include greater access to American beef.

"The crux of the standoff lies with health risks from bone fragments from the head and spinal cord being mistakenly shipped with the meat," the official said. He stressed that such bones cannot be imported.

Source: Yonhap News
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.