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US wants more concessions on beef imports: Official

Chosunilbo, 8 February 2006

U.S. Wants More Concessions on Beef Imports: Offical

The U.S. will push Korea for further negotiations on resuming imports of U.S. beef with parts attached to the bone included, an official with the U.S. Embassy in Korea said Wednesday. Korea has agreed only to import lean, boneless meat from cattle under 30 months old, which has been declared safe by an international watchdog, but that excludes rib cuts that once sold especially well here.

“We welcome the resumption of U.S. beef imports in Korea, but that does not spell the end of the problem,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity. “We hope to continue to negotiate imports of other parts of cows including those that come on the bone.”

U.S. beef had been banned since December 2003, when the first outbreak of BSE or mad cow disease was reported in the country. This January, the Korean government partly lifted the ban to ease the way for free-trade talks.

The official said the opening of Korea’s financial market will be the main subject of FTA talks between Korea and the U.S. to start in May.

“The U.S. financial industry is concerned that there are unfair regulations governing the insurance and banking industries in Korea,” he said. “I hope Korea creates an environment where U.S. financial institutions can invest freely and develop and sell new financial products in the Korean market.”

He also dampened hopes by the Korean government to have goods produced at an inter-Korean industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong recognized as made-in-Korea goods. “I do not want the Kaesong issue to become an obstacle to our primary goal of signing an FTA,” he said.

 source: Chosunilbo