Beef Not Going To Korea -- Yet

US - A free trade agreement has been reached between the U.S. and Korea, but the re-opening of that market to U.S. beef won't come immediately.
calendar icon 3 April 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
Sean McHugh, spokesman for Swift & Co. of Greeley, said beef was a related issue to the agreement, which has concluded and details still need to be finalized. He said news reports out of Korea indicated the two countries have agreed to conduct separate negotiations on the beef issue. The Korean market to U.S. beef has been closed since the first confirmed case of mad cow disease in the U.S. in December 2003.

"We are carefully evaluating what has happened and looking at what the next steps might be," McHugh said.

Steve Kay of Cattle Buyers Weekly, a trade publication, said a full reopening of the Japanese market may not come until July at the earliest despite the conclusion of the trade agreement.

Kay, quoting government and industry sources, said once the World Organization for Animal Health gives a controlled risk status to the U.S. in late May, Korea plans to engage in negotiations that could rewrite existing import rules for American beef. That is counter to demands made by the U.S. earlier this year that Korea make a commitment to fully reopen its market much sooner.

U.S. negotiators, Kay said, wanted Korea to fully reopen its market by June 29. Congress must vote on the agreement by July 1, so Kay said Korea may have to make a "definitive announcement about U.S. beef imports before then."

Source: The Tribune
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