The National Cattlemen's Beef Association is pleased that the South Korean government has announced plans to allow butcher shops to sell both domestic and foreign beef, bringing the country into compliance with a World Trade Organization ruling on treatment of beef imports.

"This decision integrates South Korean butcher shops - all shops will be allowed to sell domestic and imported beef," said NCBA Chief Economist Chuck Lambert. "That means a larger market and more opportunity for American beef."

According to press reports, sale of both domestic and foreign beef will begin in South Korea on September 10, 2001. South Korea also plans to introduce labeling and record-keeping requirements in conjunction with the integrated system.  The Ministry of Agriculture has not yet announced how it plans to comply with the "national treatment" provisions or specifics of the labeling and record-keeping plan. U.S. officials plan to closely monitor the new South Korean beef marketing system, to ensure the legality of the proposed practice. 

2000 sales of beef and beef variety meats to Asian markets included nearly $537 million to Korea. Per capita beef consumption  is slightly more than 20 pounds in Korea.

"This is another step toward a more open market and free trade," said Lambert, "Changes to retail sales operations, like this one; lowered tariffs; increased access and trade promotion authority for President Bush will help create a stronger US beef industry in a growing global marketplace."

Producer-directed and consumer-focused, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association is the  trade association of America's cattle farmers and ranchers, and the marketing organization for the largest segment of the nation's food and fiber industry.