South Korea won't discuss US beef,poultry at broader trade talks

by 5m Editor
20 December 2006, at 12:29pm

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea has rejected a US request to discuss beef and poultry imports this week as part of broader free trade talks, calling the forum inappropriate.

Working level discussions on sanitary and quarantine issues scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington, part of talks aimed at forging a free trade agreement, have been delayed by the U.S. request, South Korea's Agriculture and Forestry Ministry said in a statement Monday.

"Recently, the U.S. asked that American beef imports and the easing of import bans on poultry products during bird flu outbreaks be discussed in this week's session," the ministry said.

South Korea, however, rejected the request, saying "the issue should not be discussed within the framework of FTA negotiations."

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul had no comment.

South Korea and the U.S. have been at odds since Seoul rejected all three shipments of U.S. beef that have arrived since the end of a three-year ban triggered by fears of mad cow disease for containing bone fragments.

Source: Freemont Tribune

5m Editor