The United States and Korea have reached a formal agreement to resume beef trade. The announcement came amid South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's first formal visit to Washington since taking office two months ago.
"Resumption of trade is a long overdue but very welcome development,” said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. “The facts clearly demonstrate U.S. beef safety. We are gratified that now consumers in Korea will soon have access to our products.”
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said the agreement to reopen the Korean market to all U S. beef and beef products from cattle of all ages is consistent with World Animal Health Organization (OIE) guidelines. The new protocol, which will take effect in mid-May, defines conditions for importation of U.S. beef to South Korea including removal of Specified Risk Materials (SRMs), as defined by the OIE and inspection protocols to guarantee commercial viability for U.S. industry.
South Korea closed its market to U.S. beef and beef products after a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) was discovered in the United States in December 2003. Prior to this time, South Korea was the third-largest export market for U.S. beef and beef products, and the United States exported $815million worth of beef and beef products in 2003. South Korea partially reopened its market to deboned beef from cattle less than 30 months of age in January 2006, but this reopening was subject to several interruptions and the market has been effectively closed since October 2007.
Source: American Meat Institute (AMI)