S. Korea Ranked No. 3 Importer of U.S. Beef in September

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea became the third-largest importer of American beef in September, a report by the U.S. government and meat exporters said Monday.
calendar icon 19 November 2007
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The value of South Korea's U.S. beef imports during the month was 77 percent larger than the $18.93 million worth shipped to Japan, the report said.

Until September, South Korea was the fourth-largest importer of American beef after Canada, Mexico and Japan, with 22,240 tons worth $106.50 million. Japan's imports reached $174.15 million in the same period.

A local government expert, however, claimed that because the government only allowed U.S. beef into the country in late April, South Korea can be considered as one of the top three importers.

"The total until now is only one-tenth of the 250,000 tons of beef that were bought in 2003, but the rate of increase is rapid, with volume rising accordingly," the expert said. He added that if negotiations to allow the imports of more beef parts are concluded, the imports are likely to surge.

Before the discovery of a case of mad cow disease in the U.S. caused Seoul to ban American beef in late 2003, South Korea imported roughly 20 percent of U.S. beef exports and was the third-largest market after Japan and Mexico.

South Korea and the United States are currently engaged in technical discussions on rewriting Seoul's sanitary and phytosanitary conditions. The current agreement, reached in January 2003, allows the import of meat from cattle under 30 months old and bans all import of specified risk materials (SRMs). SRMs include brains, skulls, vertebra and certain internal organs that run the greatest risk of transmitting mad cow disease to humans.

Source: Yonhap News
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