Another Agreement Between South Korea and US

US - Another twist has unfolded in South Korea, as latest reports claim that they have reached yet another tentative deal over the resumption of beef trade with the US market.
calendar icon 20 June 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

The South Korean government will make a formal announcement to the public on Saturday regarding the outcome of the talks, Yonhap said.

South Korea was the third-largest market of beef for the United States, importing an average of $850 million per year - until South Korea banned all U.S. beef in 2003 over mad cow disease concerns.

New South Korean President Lee Myung-bak scrapped the ban entirely in an April trip to Washington, arguing at the time that lifting the ban was a necessary step in South Korea was to land a highly sought-after free trade agreement with the United States.

That move became a flashpoint for protest rallies that have only gathered strength over the past three weeks, and for a series of labor strikes that have paralyzed several of the country's industrial sectors. There have been other issues, such as inflation, soaring oil costs and Lee's rugged style of leadership - but the resumption of beef imports remained the major source of contention.

Yonhap News have reported that Lee has publicly apologized for the issue on two separate occasions, and much of his staff has resigned over the matter. The strikes - particularly among the construction and trucking workers - have cost South Korean businesses billions of dollars while clogging the country's container ports with unmoved cargo, although several of the work stoppages have since been called off.

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