US Bows to South Korean BSE Fears

SOUTH KOREA - The South Korean president has said that Washington accepted his proposal to halt imports in the case of any BSE outbreak occurring within the United States.
calendar icon 13 May 2008
clock icon 1 minute read

Lee Myung-bak told a Cabinet meeting that Washington "accepted and acknowledged" his government's latest position on U.S. beef imports, which are set to resume later this month, according to South Korean media pool reports.

The International Herald Tribune has said that under a beef trade deal the two sides struck last month, South Korea had agreed not to immediately stop imports even if a new case of mad cow disease was discovered in the United States. Instead, Seoul said it would only halt imports if the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health downgraded its safety rating for American cattle.

However, fears of mad cow disease have recently intensified among many South Koreans, with thousands of people staging candlelight vigils calling on the government to scrap the beef trade deal.

Lee's government now says that South Korea will suspend imports of U.S. beef if it endangers public health, but has rejected mounting calls to re-negotiate the accord, saying American beef is safe to eat.

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