Minister sees hope in US-Korean trade dispute

KOREA - South Korea's assistant agriculture trade minister is confident that a proposed free trade agreement between the country and the US will go ahead, despite further disagreements over agricultural issues relating to the deal.
calendar icon 23 March 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

The setback could prove to be particularly detrimental to the South Korean food industry, which has become increasingly reliant on imported materials in recent years.

Min Dong-seok told reporters after the latest round of talks today that despite the lack of common ground between the two parties, he was confident there would be some resolution.

"There have been some gains made in the four days of talks, but key issues have yet to be fully resolved," he was quoted as saying in a report for the Yonhap news agency.

"Those that have not been resolved will be referred to a ministerial-level meeting that will kick off next week in Seoul."

Key to the talk's success will be the resolution of disputes regarding to the trade of grain and meat between the two nations.

As such, US exports of beef have been a particularly sensitive issue following South Korea's decision to impose strict bans on the product over the last few years.

The bans came into place in 2003, over concerns that the presence of bones in beef originating from the US could spark a BSE scare in the country's food chain.

Source: Meat
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