NCBA Statement on U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement by Gregg Doud, Chief Economist
DENVER - “America’s cattlemen deserve access to the South Korean marketplace. U.S. beef and beef products are the safest in the world, and Korean consumers should have access to the same delicious U.S. beef they enjoyed prior to December 2003. There is simply no justifiable reason for the South Korean government to continue to ban imports of U.S. beef.
“We have said all along that cattlemen will not support the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) until commercially viable beef trade between our two countries is resumed. Historically, South Korea represented the third largest market for U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports, valued at $815 million in 2003.
“If we are not selling beef in Korea, the benefits of this trade agreement and the potential of the Korean market hold little value to U.S. cattle producers.
“Therefore, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is withholding support for the U.S.-South Korea FTA until commercially viable beef trade is occurring based on the internationally recognized guidelines established by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
“The next 90 days are critical, and NCBA will continue to closely monitor the situation over this time period. As soon as we see U.S. beef trade based upon OIE guidelines occurring between the United States and Korea, NCBA will support the U.S.-South Korea FTA and the market access terms negotiated in this agreement. If that does not occur, NCBA and our cattle producer-members will oppose this FTA.”