NCBA Statement on South Korea's Resumption of Beef Imports by Gregg Doud, Chief Economist
WASHINGTON - “America’s cattle producers applaud the long-awaited re-opening of the South Korean market to U.S. beef. We are anxious to begin providing high quality U.S. beef to Korean consumers again. We are confident our product will be welcomed back enthusiastically in Korean markets and restaurants.
“The U.S. beef industry owes a debt of gratitude to U.S. trade officials, the Administration, and members of Congress for the leadership and perseverance they have shown during these prolonged negotiations. The governments of South Korea and the United States announced January 13 that an initial import protocol agreement had been reached, but since that time, Korean officials have insisted on additional meetings, reports, analysis and investigative tours.
“After a final tour of our U.S. processing facilities this month, Korea has agreed to begin accepting boneless beef from cattle younger than 30 months. This is a small step toward fully normalizing trade based on scientific principles, and we will not rest until South Korean consumers have access to all the same beef cuts they enjoyed prior to December 2003.
“Bone-in beef and variety meats historically accounted for roughly half of the total value of U.S. beef exports to South Korea. A continued ban on these top-selling products in Korea is unacceptable.
“The U.S. food safety system is second to none. Our beef is valued by American and international consumers alike for being safe, delicious, nutritious and affordable. There is no legitimate reason for Korea or any other country to sustain a ban on U.S. beef products that are proven to be perfectly safe.
“As we continue negotiations with South Korea on a Free Trade Agreement, we will insist on science-based trading principles. A FTA with South Korea presents a lucrative opportunity for America’s cattlemen, but Korea’s continued ban on many of our most popular beef products must be lifted in order for this agreement to proceed.”