US targets full opening of Asian beef market

Korea Times 06-06-2008

US Targets Full Opening of Asian Beef Market

By Kim Yon-se
Staff Reporter

The Bush administration, whose major political funding sources allegedly involve ranchers, is likely to urge China and Japan to ``fully’’ open their beef markets, citing the negotiation results with South Korea.

At the beginning of the year, the U.S. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) mapped out a ``Beef Export Access Five Point Plan,’’ aimed at full opening of the three big Asian markets among others.

After a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was discovered in a Canadian cow in the United States in December 2003, most export markets closed.

The association said, ``We must continue to work toward normalized trade with key export markets such as South Korea, Japan and China.’’ It is also apparently targeting Taiwan.

The U.S. beef industry ― targeting major Asian countries including Korea ― will not be in disposed to leave an ``unfavorable’’ example, such as renegotiations, many Korean experts say.

The NCBA also said, ``America’s cattlemen rely on our nation’s policymakers to support a pro-trade agenda in order to grow their businesses and help support the U.S. economy.’’

The association emphasized that opening the Korean market was ``the most significant bilateral trade deal ever for U.S. beef producers, but we need meaningful trade for this to work.’’

Successfully-negotiated trade agreements help expand our international markets for beef and other agricultural goods, while simultaneously stimulating economic growth, it said. ``A vote for expanding trade is a vote for American agriculture and small business.’’

When Korea finally decided to ``fully’’ open the beef market in April, NCBA chief economist Gregg Doud said that the U.S. beef industry owes a huge debt of gratitude to ``President Bush’’ and his administration, as well as our ``trade negotiators’’ and members of ``Congress’’ for this historic undertaking on the issue of the Korean beef trade.

``For U.S. beef trade, the Korean FTA could be could be the biggest and most important bilateral trade agreement in history,’’ Doud said.

source: Korea Times