Iowa’s beef industry, worth more than two-billion dollars a year, should see a healthy boost from the decision by South Korea to resume taking shipments of U.S. beef. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s glad the latest shipment made it through last week, adding "It’s about time."
Grassley says: "Korea’s quite a market for our beef, second only to Japan in our export market. It’s very important because export of our beef is about ten-percent of the profit of the beef industry." It’s the fourth recent shipment of U.S. beef to Korea. The first three shipments — including one from Iowa — were rejected due to the alleged presence of bone chips. Grassley says the U.S. is posturing and the Koreans are taking notice.
Grassley says, "Now we’re in a situation where we’re looking for signals that Korea takes seriously our threat that we’re not going to bring up the U-S-Korean Free Trade Agreement unless they take our beef and they’re moving in that direction." He says he’s "frustrated" it’s taken more than a year for Korea to again accept our nation’s beef, following allegations of bone chips in a shipment in early 2006.
If Korea blocks or limits imports of U.S. beef for nonscientific reasons, Grassley says "I guarantee the U.S. Congress won’t implement the U-S-Korea Free Trade Agreement. That would be a wasted opportunity to expand trade between our countries."
Grassley says "Korea is the slowest of all countries to take in our beef again after the Mad Cow disease situation. Japan was bad enough. Japan has taken our beef now for quite a few months. Now we see Korea moving in this direction. It’s good news for profitability in the beef industry." Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over international trade.