Gov't To Improve Local Beef Distribution System To Cope With American Beef

SOUTH KOREA - The government will come up with a set of new policies aimed at helping local cattle farmers cope with American beef imports after the free trade pact with the United States goes into effect, government officials said Wednesday.
calendar icon 10 May 2007
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Officials from the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service and related ministries held a meeting at the presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, earlier in the day to discuss the measures.

Seoul and Washington concluded negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) on April 2. The deal, which may go into effect in early 2009 if lawmakers from both countries sign off on it next year, calls for Seoul to gradually lower its 40 percent tariffs on U.S. beef over the next 15 years.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Kim Dal-joong gave no details on the meeting, but said the government will likely announce a blueprint to enhance beef distribution and tighten labelling transparency by the end of the month.

"More discussions by all related parties will take place in the coming week so a viable plan can be formulated," Kim said.

The agriculture ministry has already said it wants to include more restaurants that must disclose the country of origin of the beef they sell. At present, only large restaurants are required to disclose the origin of the meat they serve.

The ministry could also increase administrative oversight to ensure that beef sold in supermarkets and butcher shops is correctly labeled, an official said.

Source: Yonhap News
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