South Korea-U.S. Agreement To End Beef Ban Seen As Important First Step

SEOUL - South Korea announced today it will accept U.S. beef, ending a two-year ban.
calendar icon 17 January 2006
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“The government of South Korea, through its Animal Health Committee and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has completed its own vigorous review of U.S. beef and found it safe,” USMEF President and CEO Philip M. Seng said in a statement released in Seoul. “Today’s announcement that South Korea is ready to again open to U.S. beef should be the signal to South Korean consumers that they can be confident in our products.”

South Korea banned U.S. beef after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was found in a imported cow in December 2003. That year, South Korea was the third largest market for U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports at 246,958 metric tons valued at $815.8 million.

The agreement announced today limits U.S. imports to boneless beef from cattle under 30 months of age with specific risk materials, such as spinal cord and brain, removed in accordance to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety protocols.

Variety meat, which made up about 14 percent U.S. beef product exported to South Korea in 2003, is excluded. Other criteria apparently established in the agreement will be included in a new beef verification program. U.S. beef exports will likely arrive in South Korea in late March once the export verification program is finalized.

USMEF-Korea research shows South Korean traders, retailers and restaurants are ready to welcome back U.S. beef. The number of South Korean consumers who said they would buy U.S. beef has increased from 19 percent in February 2004 to 35 percent in July 2005.

“For nearly 18 years, South Korean consumers have appreciated the great taste, consistent high quality and great value they have found in U.S. beef. We look forward to the day very soon now when they will be able to have this experience again,” Seng said.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, lamb, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs.

Source: US Meat Export Federation - 17th January 2006

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