OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES
Executive Office of the President
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 20, 1995
Contact: Anne Luzzatto
Statement by Ambassador Kantor
Ambassador Mickey Kantor announced today that U.S. efforts to open the South Korean market to U. S. meat and other food products has resulted in a successful agreement between the United States and the Korean governments.
USTR Kantor said, "We have enjoyed strong support from our industry and our Congress for working within the WTO to resolve this dispute -- and our two governments have demonstrated that, using the tools of the WTO, we can achieve a mutually acceptable result."
"The importance of this agreement to the tens of thousands of American workers in our beef and pork industries across all 50 states is manifest.
The dispute, which arose in early 1994, concerned Korea's govemment-mandated shelf-life standards which adversely affect a range of U.S. food exports, such as vacuum-packed beef and pork, frozen patties and sausages, poultry, and other products.
Last month, Korean authorities met with the
In the interim,
As a result of this settlement, the United States Government is terminating the investigation of the Korean restrictions affecting
Unscientific sanitary regulations are commonly employed to keep out imports, particularly agricultural products. In February of 1994, Korean authorities suddenly seized a shipment of American sausages because they had been "wrongly classified" by customs officials over the past four years as products with a 90-day shelf-life expiration period. Under the "coffect" classification, Korean authorities said, the sausages would have been allowed only a 30-day expiration period -- roughly the time it would take for the sausages to clear port.
In November of 1994, the United States Trade Representative accepted a Section 301 petition filed by the U.S. meat industry (The National Cattleman's Association, The National Pork Producers' Council, The American Meat Institute), which asserted that Korea restricts U.S. meat imports and abrogates three bilateral agreements. The Petitioners argued that the market could be even more significant if trade restrictions were eliminated. For example, Koreans consume four times as much beef as the Japanese on a per capita basis. Trade damages estimates range from $240 million for 1994 to as much as $1 billion annually by 1999.
In its investigation, the USTR found that Korean shelf-life standards are not supported by scientific studies, and are applied in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner. Most countries in the world, including member nations of the European Union and APEC, rely on manufacturer determined "use-by" dates to control food safety and quality.
After bilateral consultations broke down at the end of April, the