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Baucus Calls for Import Protocol Opening Korea To U.S. Beef

Monday, January 28, 2008

(American Meat Institute)

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) implored U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab in a letter to devise an import protocol with Korea that provides full market access to all U.S. beef, regardless of the cut of the beef or the age of the cattle.

Chairman Baucus has indicated that a U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement will not move forward in the Finance Committee until Korea lifts its unscientific ban on U.S. beef and sets criteria to fairly assess beef imports and to resolve conflicts on a case-by-case basis should they arise.

Korea was the third largest importer of U.S. beef before it banned the importation of U.S. beef in 2003 following reports of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. Although Korea agreed to partially open its market in September 2006 to imports of boneless beef from cattle less than 30 months old, it has rejected large shipments of U.S. beef based on technicalities that had no bearing on the safety of U.S. products. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines clearly support the safety of all U.S. beef – whether boneless, bone-in, or offals – regardless of the age of the cattle.

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