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BUSINESS & FOOD: Despite U.S. Grains Council influence, South Korea still buys GMO-free maize






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TITLE:  KOREA SEEN AS A LEADER IN LIBERALIZED TRADE RELATIONS

SOURCE: U.S. Grains Council, USA

AUTHOR: Press Release

URL:    http://www.grains.org/galleries/headlines/04-24-2008%20Korea.pdf

DATE:   24.04.2008

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KOREA SEEN AS A LEADER IN LIBERALIZED TRADE RELATIONS

 

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?In the export market, South Korea bought 50,000 tons of non- genetically modified soybeans and Japan purchased 88,000 tons of wheat, including 21,000 tons from the U.S., at a tender today.?

Rice jumps above US$25 in Chicago for first time, by Jae Hur, Bloomberg, Apr 24, 2008

http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=469270

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2008 ? Monumental decisions have been made by the South Korean government in the last few months that demonstrate a proactive and science-based response to increasing food and feed costs spurred by tightening supplies. Last week the Korea Food and Drug Administration announced that it will remove the StarLink free documentation requirement for U.S. corn imports for food uses. According to Byong Ryol Min, U.S. Grains Council director in Korea, StarLink corn imports for human consumption were previously banned from the Korean marketplace due to the Cry9C protein found in StarLink corn hybrids.

?After KFDA issued a massive recall of food products in late 2000 due to the presence of StarLink bioengineered corn, KFDA required that further shipments of corn and processed food for human consumption be certified as being free of StarLink corn,? said Min. He said the incidence of Cry9C protein has impacted the competitiveness of U.S. corn in Korea?s market. ?This decision serves as scientific evidence supporting the USDA?s Food and Drug Administration?s conclusion that the risk to the human food supply has been sufficiently removed,? he said.

Prior to this decision, Korea purchased the country?s first shipment of genetically enhanced corn for industrial use and human consumption.

?We have seen significant strides being made by South Korea since the start of 2008 to liberalize trade relations with the United States using sound science as the core of those decisions,? said Ken Hobbie, U.S. Grains Council president and CEO who will be traveling to South Korea in May to discuss the current and anticipated supplies of U.S. feed grains.

Most recently, Korea fully opened its market to U.S. beef consistent with World Animal Health Organization (OIE) standards. Prior to the U.S. bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) case, also referred to as mad cow disease, Korea was one of the leading importers of U.S. beef. Beef exports to Korea before the market closure were valued at more than $772 million.

?Whether it?s beef or feed grains, open and free trade is a definite win for U.S. producers as well as end-users and consumers abroad,? said Hobbie. ?We certainly applaud South Korea for their positive efforts at removing trade restrictions.? Hobbie said one of the next steps in the right direction rests in the hands of the U.S. government.

?The U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement signed by the United States and South Korea is currently pending submission from President Bush to Congress for approval. The passage of this agreement is undoubtedly a win all around and according to USGC member, American Farm Bureau Federation, the agreement will increase U.S. agricultural exports to Korea by $1.5 billion annually after full implementation,? he said, adding that U.S. agriculture is usually one of the first beneficiaries of the liberalization of international trade rules.


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