Chuck Lambert, deputy undersecretary of agriculture, is leading a group of U.S. negotiators to meet with South Korean officials this Thursday and Friday in Seoul. The group hopes to make progress in opening the South Korean market to U.S. beef.
South Korea began accepting U.S. boneless beef from cattle less than 30 months of age in April for the first time since banning all U.S. beef following the BSE case of December 2003. However they have suspended imports from a number of plants over bone chips and last week stopped all shipments of U.S. beef because a section of banned spinal column was found by inspectors.
Lambert is expected to ask South Korea to lift restrictions on U.S. beef during this week's trade rule negotiations. Korea opening its market to U.S. beef will have to happen before Congress will act on the pending free trade agreement with the country.