Saturday, August 04, 2007

With Friends Like This...

This is just one reason why the US should not sign a free trade agreement with Korea:

In a move that could hinder the passage of a bilateral free trade pact, South Korea effectively blocked all U.S. beef imports from reaching store shelves Thursday after banned parts were found in a recent shipment.

The discovery of unauthorized animal parts in a July shipment, including spinal material, comes as the United States pushes for a full reopening of what once had been the third-largest overseas market for its beef.

Seoul ended a ban of three and a half years last month on U.S. beef that was prompted by a 2003 outbreak of mad cow disease in the United States, allowing in boneless U.S. beef from cattle under 30 months old.

But South Korea announced Thursday that it was stopping inspections of U.S. beef under quarantine, meaning that beef already in warehouses would be prevented from reaching store shelves. It will now decide whether to ban U.S. beef altogether.

Any agreement signed with the Koreans will not be upheld by their side and the continuous banning of US beef is just a perfect example of this. The Korean government has now banned all US beef to Korea because of one box of T-bone steaks that was labeled for consumption in the US.

You may remember back in June US beef shipments were banned when four boxes of beef that were meant for the US market some how ended up in the Korean beef shipment. It was later found that the four boxes were samples of US beef provided to a South Korean company in California. This company was some how able to get the four boxes of beef into the US shipment to Korea, which ended up banning US beef all together until the US Congress got involved and threatened trade sanctions.

I find it hard to believe that the US beef exporter, Cargil would have been sloppy enough to send another box of meat that was meant for US consumption. I agree with Brendon that there may be a "Patriotic Korean" somewhere along the export chain making sure that a box of beef meant for the US market ends up in the shipment of beef meant for export to Korea. There is already evidence of this from the investigation after the June ban and I would not be surprised if another South Korean connection is found again this time.

Everyone ask yourself, would Korea pull this crap with China? We already know the answer to that question when the Korean government backed down on their Chinese kimchi ban during the Great Kimchi Crisis of 2005 when China threatened a trade war with Korea. There has never been a problem with Chinese kimchi since. If the US government is serious about exporting beef to Korea than it needs to start learning to play by rules the Koreans understand. Just ask China.

You can read more at Lost Nomad.

No comments: