Statement by Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer on South Korea Reopening Market to U.S. Beef and Beef Products in Line with International Standards
April 18, 2008
"Today's announcement that South Korea has fully complied with international trade standards regarding beef and beef products is great news for America's ranchers and beef industry. By allowing complete market access for U.S. beef and beef products from cattle of all ages, South Korea has made a decision that is based on science and in line with international guidelines. As a result of a constructive and steady dialogue, Korean consumers will again have access to safe, affordable, high-quality beef at a time when global commodity prices are tightening.
"In May 2007, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) formally classified the United States as a controlled risk country for BSE. This status confirmed that U.S. BSE regulatory controls are effective and that U.S. beef and beef products of all ages can be safely traded. Before the Korean market was closed to U.S. beef and beef products in December 2003, following the detection of a case of BSE in the state of Washington, Korea was the third largest export market for U.S. beef and beef products, with annual sales more than $815 million. Since that time, Korea's economy has grown and more of its population enjoys increased incomes and a better way of life. That is why Congress's immediate consideration of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) is important. Once the KORUS FTA is ratified and implemented, and the current 40 percent tariffs on U.S. beef are fully lifted, the FTA is expected to generate tariff savings of approximately $500 million a year for U.S beef exporters. The International Trade Commission estimates that under the FTA, U.S. beef exports to South Korea could increase by $600 million to $1.8 billion.
"South Korea has raised the bar for other Asian nations, such as Japan, Taiwan and China, and the United States will continue to press for full market access throughout the rest of the Pacific Rim so that unreasonable restrictions on U.S. beef and beef products are fully removed."