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AMI Urges South Korea to Make Restoration of Full Beef Trade with U.S. "Highest Economic Priority"

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Pointing out the urgency of restoring full beef trade throughout the world, AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle sent a letter today urging the South Korean government (SKG) to make the full resumption of beef trade with the U.S. their “highest economic priority.” “South Korea’s continuance of an embargo on U.S. beef is causing significant economic damage to U.S. cattle producers and beef processors and threatens to cause permanent losses to many of our companies,” noted Boyle in a letter to South Korean Ambassador Lee Tae Sik. “The U.S. cattle and beef industries are losing millions of dollars each month that South Korea remains closed to U.S. beef,” he notes.

Boyle also urged the government of Korea to adopt the Organization International d’Epizootics (OIE) guidelines, which state that nations that have “appropriate mitigation measures” in place – like the United States – should be eligible to fully trade in beef.

Before banning U.S. beef imports in December 2003 following a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, South Korea was the third-largest market for exporting U.S. beef products, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. In 2002, the country imported 213,000 tons of U.S. beef worth $610 million.

Boyle reminded the SKG that “in the two years since a single case of BSE was diagnosed in the U.S., USDA has implemented new , scientifically sound BSE controls and substantially expanded its BSE surveillance program. These new actions complement other BSE control measures dating back to 1989." These firewalls, he notes, in addition to the removal of specified risk materials from the human food supply, ensure the safety of the U.S. beef supply.

“AMI and its member companies have been strong advocates of free trade and have supported all Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that the U.S. G overnment has negotiated and implemented with other nations. Our support of a FTA with South Korea is dependent upon South Korea abiding by international science based standards, which support full reopening of its market to U.S. beef,” Boyle adds.


For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs

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