Senator Writes To S. Korean President As Shipment Awaits Approval

US - A U.S. senator sent a letter Wednesday to South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun urging his country to fully reopen its markets to American beef as a large shipment was awaiting inspections at the Asian nation.
calendar icon 26 April 2007
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If approved, it will be the first U.S. beef export to South Korea in over three years.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) reaffirmed his stance that his support for the free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea hinges on whether Seoul commits to lifting its ban on American beef. Montana is a major beef-producing state.

"And, as I have stated publicly, I will continue to oppose the agreement until American beef is flowing into the Korean market and I have adequate assurances that it will continue to do so," he said.

Baucus chairs the Senate Finance Committee, which would review and vote on the recently concluded FTA with Seoul before it reaches the Congress for a floor vote.

South Korea was the third largest buyer of U.S. beef before it shut its doors in 2003 following discovery of mad cow disease at an American cattle farm. It agreed to a partial reopening in 2006 for boneless products from cattle less than 30 months old.

But three consecutive shipments were turned away when bone fragments were found. U.S. officials blamed Seoul of applying unscientific standards, arguing that the fragments in the rejected shipments posed no health hazards.

A 6.3-ton shipment arrived in South Korea on Monday and is undergoing inspections.

Source: Yonhap News
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