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From: TSS ()
Subject: Re: Bone of contention
Date: December 28, 2006 at 11:40 am PST

In Reply to: Bone of contention posted by TSS on December 25, 2006 at 8:33 am:

CN_Today 12/28/2006 7:24:00 AM

Top Story: S. Korea Threatens To Ban U.S. Beef Again

South Korean legislators talked tough on Wednesday, warning they might reinstate a ban on U.S. beef imports if Washington continues to demand that Seoul ease its quarantine inspection standards.

“The U.S. should be aware that if the U.S. Congress continues to press with the beef quarantine issue, it will be viewed by most South Koreans as an infringement on their sovereignty,“ a statement signed by 17 South Korean lawmakers.

But some U.S. officials aren’t flinching.

Chuck Lambert, the Agriculture Department’s deputy under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, told on Wednesday that the statement is somewhat insignificant because U.S. negotiators aren’t directly dealing with Korean lawmakers on the issue. He also indicated that Seoul never truly lifted its ban on U.S. beef, as evidenced by its rejection in recent months of three U.S. beef shipments containing banned bone fragments.

“From our viewpoint, the South Korean market has never been open,“ Lambert said. “They’ve rejected three loads out of three loads [since lifting the ban in October]. That’s why we’re trying to reach an agreement, so it is commercially viable.“

Korea also reported last week that inspectors in Seoul detected excessive amounts of dioxin in the last of those shipments (see S. Korea finds toxic dioxin in U.S. beef shipment ,, Dec. 22, 2006.)

Although The Korea Herald reported Wednesday that South Korea has agreed to meet with the United States to address the beef issue, Lambert said negotiators on both sides had yet to set a date and agenda that “meets everyone’s needs.“

By Tom Johnston


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