The recent announcement by President Barack Obama that negotiators for the United States and South Korea have reached consensus on their free trade agreement is very welcome news for U.S. red meat producers, processors and exporters. The U.S. red meat industry will reap significant benefits under the FTA from the gradual elimination of duties on pork and beef exports to Korea.
"I would like to take this opportunity to personally congratulate the U.S. negotiators for their dedication and commitment to pursuing these discussions to a successful conclusion," said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng.
Seng also acknowledged the leadership of Montana Sen. Max Baucus in achieving the resumption of beef exports to Korea in 2008. Noting the strong recovery that has occurred in beef exports since 2008, Seng said that Baucus' continued commitment to expanding access to the Korean market has been critical to the success the beef industry has experienced there over the past two years.
USMEF looks forward to working closely with Korean importers, food service and retailers as well as consumers to provide the high-quality products they enjoy from the United States. This agreement provides a good opportunity for U.S. agriculture and is great news for Korea's consumers.
Through the first nine months of 2010, the United States has exported 81,866 metric tons (180.5 million pounds) of beef valued at $383.8 million to South Korea--an increase of 136 percent in volume and 181 percent in value versus the same period in 2009. Pork exports to Korea are down about 17 percent year-over-year, but still total 64,209 metric tons (141.6 million pounds) valued at $136.5 million.
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