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AMI Applauds WTO Panel Finding That Korean Beef Import Practices Violate International Trade Rules

Wednesday, August 2, 2000

Washington, DC - The American Meat Institute (AMI) today welcomed the decision by a World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Panel decision which found most of Korea’s restrictions on imported U.S. beef to be inconsistent with Korea’s WTO obligations.

AMI had urged the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to pursue the case because Korean restrictions on beef imports, sales, and distribution, as well as price mark-ups on beef imports and domestic producer subsidies impede Korean imports of U.S. beef and appear to be illegal under WTO rules.

“A WTO panel has now confirmed our firm view that Korean import restrictions, markups and subsidies violate Korea's obligations under the WTO,” said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. “AMI applauds the USTR’s diligence in pursuing the case and we urge Korea to rescind its illegal trade practices immediately."

On February 1, 1999, the United States requested consultations with the Republic of Korea under WTO dispute settlement provisions. This request was prompted by the Korean government's failure to address in bilateral negotiations any of the concerns raised by U.S. negotiators about the impact of Korea's trade policies on U.S. beef exports to Korea. As a result of Korea’s intransigence, AMI and several U.S. beef industry organizations urged that USTR request the formation of a WTO dispute settlement panel.

The U.S. imports billions of dollars worth of Korean motor vehicles, televisions, microwave ovens and other quality manufactured goods annually with virtually no trade restrictions. In addition, no markups are imported Korean products and domestic manufacturers are not subsidized to enable them to compete more effectively with Korean goods.

“It is fair and reasonable for us to expect Korea, a nation with the same WTO rights and obligations as the U.S., to provide the same terms of access and same conditions of competition for our products in its market as we provide to Korean products sold in the U.S.,” said Boyle.

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory and public relations services, conducts scientific and economic research, offers marketing and technical assistance and sponsors education programs.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
James Ratchford Ratchford
Manager, Public Affairs

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