Friday, March 25, 2011
Text Fwd: U.S. to push for full market access for beef imports
The U.S. Congressional Research Service report entitled “U.S.-South Korea Beef Dispute: Issues and Status,” released Mar. 3.
U.S. to push for full market access for beef imports
:Analysts say the U.S. goal is both opening the market and tying the issue to KORUS FTA ratification
By Jung Eun-joo
March 24, 2011
It has been confirmed that the United States has established concrete plans for the full opening of the South Korean beef market to be submitted to the South Korean government ahead of ratification of the South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).
A report released on Mar. 3 by the U.S. Congressional Research Service, titled “U.S.-South Korea Beef Dispute: Issues and Status,” states that “Administration officials have stated that their objective is ‘to eventually secure full market access for U.S. beef’. . ..[but] the Administration may not require achieving this objective before the KORUS FTA is sent to Congress, and instead may seek to secure commitments from South Korea to move in steps toward that goal.”
During President Lee Myung-bak’s first official visit to the United States in April 2008, Seoul agreed to grant full permission for the importation of U.S. beef and abandon sovereignty on quarantine measures, and U.S beef importation hygiene conditions reflecting this were adopted in a notification by the Minister for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Following popular resistance in the form of the candlelight vigil demonstrations, however, U.S. meat exporters and South Korean importers agreed on a “voluntary arrangement” restricting the importation of beef from cattle aged over 30 months “until such time as the confidence of South Korean consumers has been restored.”
Because of this, Washington has been persistently demanding full market access for U.S. beef in South Korea as provided for in the original agreement, linking the issue with Congressional ratification of the KORUS FTA. The Congressional Research Service said that the U.S. negotiation team may raise the beef issue with Seoul if South Korean consumers are purchasing more U.S. beef and show confidence that U.S. measures to prevent the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy are effective.
The U.S. is viewing the increase in U.S. beef market share in South Korea to 32 percent, with the imports of $18 million last year representing a full 140 percent increase from the year before, as a signal of improved confidence. In response, the report indicated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture may demand full market access for U.S. beef from the South Korean government under four conditions.