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U.S. welcomes full reopening of South Korean market to American beef

The agreement to fully reopen the South Korean market to U.S. beef exports is consistent with international standards and World Animal Health Organization (OIE) guidelines, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said on April 18, 2008.

The agreement, announced in the South Korean capital Seoul early Friday, is expected to replace the current SPS standards agreement signed in January 2006, which allowed the United States to ship to South Korea only boneless beef from cattle under 30 months old.

"This will be a huge boost to our ranchers and producers who have waited patiently to regain the access to the South Korean beef market that was lost in December 2003," Schwab said.

The latest agreement over U.S. beef exports is expected to pave the way for the ratification of a free trade agreement between Seoul and Washington in the U.S. parliament.

"With this full resumption of U.S. beef exports to South Korea, the major obstacle to Congressional consideration of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) is removed," said Schwab.

"The KORUS FTA -- the most commercially significant FTA we have concluded in over 15 years -- will create new opportunities for U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers, businesses, and entrepreneurs across the country," she added.

South Korea suspended the import of U.S. beef in late 2003 to prevent mad cow disease.

In April 2007, South Korea reopened its market to U.S. beef but halted imports again in October the same year after finding bones in the imported U.S. beef.

 Source : xinhua  Editor:
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