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Korea, U.S. to Have More Talks on Beef

Posted June. 17, 2008 03:54,   


Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon delayed his return to Seoul to hold more talks with his U.S. counterpart at Washington’s request on Sunday.

The Foreign Ministry`s Trade Negotiation Headquarters said, “At the request of the United States to have more ministerial-level talks, Kim changed his initial plan to come back to Korea and decided to have further talks with U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab in Washington yesterday.”

Before Kim changed his plan, the headquarters announced early yesterday, “Korea and the United States have recognized that it would need more time to find technical details on establishing an effective measure under which only beef from cattle aged 30 months or younger would be imported into Korea. Kim will return to Korea via New York today. And, the two nations will continue to talk via diplomatic channels.”

Immediately after the announcement, concerns mounted as the talks seemed to have ended fruitless. However, Kim’s return was delayed as Washington expressed the need of further ministerial-level talks both to the Korean Embassy there and the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.

A senior government official explained, “The two governments have tried to reach an agreement on the assumption that private importers and exporters would voluntarily come up with effective measures so as to prevent beef from cattle older than 30 months from entering Korea. We will find what the United States really wants after more talks.”

Along with Kim, Vice Agriculture Minister Park Deok-bae will continue to stay for additional discussions. It has not been decided when Korean delegates will finish the negotiation and return to Korea.

In the meanwhile, Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan briefed President Lee Myung-bak at Cheong Wa Dae on details of the ongoing beef talks later in the day.

parky@donga.com jin0619@donga.com