Full restoration of beef trade with Korea should be a prerequisite for a U.S.-Korean Free Trade Agreement, according to AMI President J. Patrick Boyle, who testified today before the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade.
current Korean import requirements for U.S.
beef do not come close to a first stage of
reopening trade. The beef industry is united
and has informed USTR and USDA that they will
not support an FTA with Korea if U.S. beef
exports are not normalized,” Boyle
In his testimony, Boyle told the
Subcommittee that the U.S. government and beef
industry have a proactive track record of BSE
prevention and the U.S. has earned the right to
export beef freely under international
guidelines set by the World Organization for
Animal Health (OIE). He detailed the United
States’ interlocking safeguards against BSE
and expressed frustration with Korea’s
inaction in restoring full beef trade.
Just last week, according to Boyle, the
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
expert panel recommended a preliminary
designation for the U.S. of a "Controlled Risk"
country for BSE. “This designation affirms
the U.S.’ proactive and effective commitment
to preventing BSE and controlling it should it
occur,” he said, noting that under such a
designation, U.S. cattle and products from
cattle of all ages can be safely traded in
accordance with international guidelines.
“The facts are indisputable. No
nation acted with as much forethought as the
U.S. to prevent a disease, detect it if it
existed and control and destroy it if it
occurred. Using a surveillance system that
far exceeds international guidelines, we have
detected only three cases in a 100 million head
herd. More importantly, no BSE-related human
illness has ever been associated with eating
U.S. beef,” he said. “We have earned the
right to trade in the international arena under
the committee that prior to December 2003,
Korea represented the U.S.’ third largest
beef export market valued at $750 million.
Korea ceased all U.S. beef imports following
the first U.S. case of BSE and has been slow to
restore full and meaningful beef trade with the
U.S. even though international animal health
guidelines support restoration of trade.
As a condition of commencing FTA
negotiations, according to Boyle, the Koreans
agreed to allow resumption of U.S. beef imports
in a two phased approach: first, immediately
allowing boneless beef from animals less than
30 months, and second, allow beef and beef
products from animals of all ages upon
conclusion of the FTA
But Boyle said the
omission of a very common commercial bone
tolerance has effectively precluded any
meaningful resumption of trade and resulted in
Korea rejecting three shipments of beef. In
December, three separate shipments from three
different companies were rejected because bone
fragments were found by the Korean government.
International guidelines permit bone-in beef to
be internationally traded.
the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting
the safety of U.S. beef, more than 17 years of
controls, a preliminary expert panel
designation, and an agreement to restore trade,
the ban persists,” Boyle said. “Therefore,
we urge you and your colleagues to communicate
to the South Korean government that the
resumption of full beef access must occur prior
to the conclusion of the FTA negotiations.
Should this ban be resolved and full market
access restored, we stand ready to be strong,
vocal supporters of this agreement and its
AMI President J. Patrick Boyle Tells House Subcommittee That Full Restoration of Beef Trade With Korea Should Be Prerequisite for U.S.-Korean Free Trade AgreementTuesday, March 20, 2007
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