Late May South Korea announced its intention to lift their ban on U.S. beef imports with shipments beginning as soon as June 7. That date may be moved back as much as a month, according to Korean officials who are questioning several U.S. plants.
Korea teams completed their inspections of 37 U.S. processing facilities and the Korean government is expected to announce which facilities are eligible to export products June 7. Reuters reports South Korea's agriculture minister told reporters that "U.S. beef processing facilities do not meet the standards suggested by the South Korean government. So the first shipment of U.S. beef to South Korea may not be allowed this month."
This week negotiations officially began on the U.S. and South Korea Free Trade Agreement. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley warns further delays to re-open the Korean market to U.S. beef could complicate negotiations of an agreement. "I can't see the Congress passing implementing legislation for a trade agreement with a country that's shutting out a perfectly safe U.S. product."