U.S. beef, trying to get back into South Korea without restrictions, is getting both good news and bad news on the trade front.
While thousands of Koreans protested in the streets of Seoul last year over re-entry of U.S. beef to South Korea with fewer restrictions, beef imported from America has more than doubled in first eight months of 2010. Koreans clearly have not lost their taste for corn-fed Nebraska beef.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is President Obama failed to get the remaining restrictions on U.S. beef exports to Korea removed from a proposed free trade agreement, which now remains unresolved.
In a big embarrassment for the president, the U.S.-Korea trade talks broke down during his current Asian tour and are now unlikely to be resolved until after the president gets home.
U.S. beef has been trying to get back into Korea without restriction on its exports since it was banned from the Asian after the discovery in 2003 of a cow infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow Disease in Washington state.
Prior to the Mad Cow ban, Korea was a $750 million market for U.S. beef.