U.S. Resumes Beef Import Talks with South Korea

Officials of both governments will meet in Seoul on Friday.

Discussions about beef imports between the U.S. and South Korea that have been on hold since October will resume this week. U.S. Deputy Undersecretary Ellen Terpstra will meet with South Korean Assistant Agriculture Minister Min Dong-seok on Friday in Seoul.

The U.S. wants open access to the beef market in South Korea and changes to regulations of what cuts will be allowed. Korea hinted that it may allow bone-in-beef products such as ribs into the country, but wants to maintain the 30-month age limit on animals that can be slaughtered for export to South Korea.

South Korea banned U.S. beef imports in late 2003 following a confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Imports were resumed last year but stopped after bones were discovered in a shipment.

The U.S. has made clear that the free trade agreement signed with South Korea last June will not be passed by Congress until there is a resolution to beef import issues.

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