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BSE Fight is Not Just About Beef

07 July 2008

US - American beef is back on the South Korean menu this week - but while cattle producers here might feel like celebrating as they throw a few steaks on the holiday barbecue here, the Koreans have more than just a bad taste for international trade.

Korean and U.S. officials have worked hard to get a new import agreement. Once the third largest overseas market for U.S. beef, Korea banned beef after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in 2003.

Since then, the situation has erupted into being a financial hit for cattle producers here, and a massive political headache for the Korean government. There have been protests with as many as 80,000 people and political upheaval as politicians have resigned or lost positions over whether U.S. beef should be allowed back on the market.

President Lee Myung-bak tried to find a compromise by allowing beef back but only for shipments with cattle younger than 30 months.

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Source: Capital Press


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