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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Meanwhile the U.S. beef industry plans to monitor talks this week between U.S. trade officials and South Korea. Both sides will hold talks in a dispute over South Korea’s repeated rejection of American beef shipments. Sarah Gardner says this disagreement has become a bone of contention in free trade negotiations.
SARAH GARDNER: South Korea used to be the third largest market for American beef, but it banned imports in 2003 after a case of mad cow was discovered in the U.S.
South Korea lifted that ban recently, but inspectors there have rejected all the American shipments since. They say the meat contained small pieces of bone banned under the current agreement.
Joe Schuele is with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
JOE SCHUELE: The kind of bone fragments with these shipments are really a sliver the size of a thumbnail. We really feel like they’re looking for any excuse to reject these shipments.
Schuele contends South Korea simply wants to protect its own beef industry.
The chief U.S. trade negotiator has warned a proposed free trade agreement with South Korea won’t happen unless the two countries settle this beef over beef.
I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.
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