S. Korea to Relax U.S. Beef Quarantines

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea said Thursday that it will lower its quarantine standards this month over banned bone fragments in American beef shipments, paving the way for the nation to resume U.S. beef imports
calendar icon 8 March 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
South Korea -- once America's third-largest overseas beef market -- notified the United States of the plan during negotiations in Washington on Tuesday, and the U.S. did not oppose it, South Korea's Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.

South Korea agreed to resume imports of U.S. beef last year following a three-year ban triggered by fears of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

But American beef has never reached South Korean consumers because quarantine authorities rejected all shipments for containing the tiny bone fragments that South Korea fears could potentially harbor the disease.

Under the lowered standards, bone fragments will still be unacceptable, but Seoul will return only boxes of bone-in meat in a shipment, instead of rejecting the entire shipment, the statement said.

The two sides have haggled over the issue for months. Washington has strongly defended the safety of American beef, accusing Seoul of using the issue of bone fragments to impose an unofficial import ban.

The U.S. does not appear fully satisfied with the deal. The ministry statement said that the U.S., although it did not oppose the compromise, raised skepticism about whether U.S. beef producers would attempt again to export to South Korea after experiencing the rejections.

The beef dispute has been a key sore point between the two countries that are seeking to forge a free trade agreement. Their eighth round of free trade negotiations opened in Seoul on Thursday.

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