U.S. Beef Industry Highlights Success of Korea Free Trade Agreement

2017) -- The CEOs of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the North
American Meat Institute, and the U.S. Meat Export Federation today sent a
letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and Ambassador Robert Lighthizer of USTR
to highlight the success the U.S. beef industry has experienced with its
exports to South Korea since the entry into force of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade
Agreement (KORUS). The industry letter was prompted by the recent announcement
from the Trump Administration that there will be a special session with South
Korea to discuss potential changes to the KORUS. The meeting will be held in
Washington, D.C., in August.

“Simply put, KORUS created the ideal environment for the U.S.
beef industry to thrive in South Korea," the letter said. "We would
not support any changes in the terms of the KORUS that would jeopardize either
our market share or the significant investment that has been made in rebuilding
Korean consumer confidence in the safety, quality, and consistency of U.S.

Together, the three U.S.
beef industry associations represent the entire beef value chain, from ranchers
to feedlot operators to meat packers and export trading companies, and they are
united in the position that continued access to the South Korean market on the
terms that were negotiated in the KORUS is essential to the future health of
the U.S. beef industry.

The letter states that “Under KORUS, the U.S. beef industry has
seen an 82 percent increase in annual sales to South Korea, from $582 million
in 2012 to $1.06 billion in 2016, making South Korea the second largest export
market for U.S. beef. Many cuts like short ribs and chuck rolls receive a
significant premium in South Korea over prices in the U.S. market. KORUS
established strong science-based trade measures and a schedule for the
elimination of South Korea’s 40 percent tariff on U.S. beef—terms that have
allowed the U.S. beef industry to be very competitive in South Korea.”

The letter further states that “implementing KORUS before the Australians
implemented their free trade agreement with South Korea has given U.S. beef a
significant tariff rate advantage in South Korea, and the United States is now
the leading source of beef imports in South Korea.”

The U.S. beef industry
is a vitally important part of the U.S. agricultural economy and one of the
largest employers in rural communities across the United States. Exports are a
critical component of the continued profitability of the U.S. beef industry and
make a significant contribution to the positive balance of trade that the
United States enjoys in food and agricultural products. Last year, we sold $6.3
billion of U.S. beef to foreign consumers, with exports to South Korea,
accounting for 17 percent of the total.

You can read the full letter, which was signed by NCBA
CEO Kendal Frazier, USMEF CEO Phil Seng, and NAMI CEO Barry Carpenter, here.

Source: NCBA