Korea-US FTA Would Put Pressure on Aussie Beef

AUSTRALIA - The expected quick resolution of the dispute now holding up a free trade deal between South Korea and the US will put Australian beef sales to their third largest export market under pressure.
calendar icon 14 March 2008
clock icon 1 minute read
Glen Fiest, Meat and Livestock Australia's regional manager in South Korea, told last week's Outlook conference in Canberra that South Korea's new pro-trade president, Lee Myung-bak, was likely to remove the current restrictions on US beef which had been delaying ratification of the American FTA.

Australia would then have three years to press for a similar deal or face increasingly lopsided competition from our major rival as a 40 per cent tariff on US beef was phased out over 15 years.

Mr Fiest said many other countries were also queuing up for a FTA with South Korea which may hamper Australia's need to strike a speedy deal. Australia and South Korea have done a feasibility study on a FTA but no decision has been made on starting formal negotiations for a bilateral deal.

South Korea banned US beef in December, 2003, following an outbreak of mad cow disease (BSE) on a farm in Washington State. Seoul partially lifted the ban in early 2006, accepting only boneless beef from cattle younger than 30 months but has temporarily suspended the trade several times since then after bone material was found in shipments.

Source: North Queensland Register
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