Washington, DC – Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and U.S.
Trade Representative Rob Portman announced that Korea and the United States have
agreed on an initial import protocol, an important step in reopening Korea’s
market to U.S. beef.
"We welcome the conclusion of our technical negotiations in Seoul. This paves
the way for the reopening of Korea’s beef market, and we anticipate that trade
will resume toward the end of March after Korea completes its import
procedures," said Secretary Johanns. "Korea has been our third largest market
for beef exports, so regaining this market has been a priority for the
The initial agreement will allow the United States to export boneless beef
from cattle less than 30 months of age under a Beef Export Verification
Ambassador Portman said, "Although we appreciate this step toward normalized
beef trade with Korea, we are extremely disappointed that Korea did not fully
open its market to all U.S. beef products. We will continue to urge Korea in the
strongest terms to open its market without delay to U.S. bone-in beef, variety
meats, and offal. Together these products historically accounted for
approximately 50 percent of U.S. beef exports to Korea."
Korea has prohibited imports of U.S. beef and beef products since December
2003, following the detection of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in a
single cow of Canadian origin in Washington State. In 2003, before the ban took
effect, the United States exported $815 million worth of beef and beef products
to Korea, of which $449 million was boneless beef.
Secretary Johanns added, "As we continue discussions with Korea, I urge
Thailand, China, Taiwan, Singapore and others to comply with science-based
international guidelines and reopen their markets to U.S. beef."
The United States has been working with Korea and other countries around the
world to remove the remaining restrictions on imports of U.S. beef. Since the
closing of many U.S. export markets in December 2003, the United States has
recovered access to markets valued at more than $3.2 billion, or 82 percent of
the 2003 export value of $3.9 billion.