Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  The office of the United States Trade Representative announced yesterday it had reached an agreement with South Korea on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). However, the FTA does not give South Dakota beef producers the market access they deserve.

"I am encouraged that certain sectors of agriculture, including wheat, corn, and soybeans, could soon see benefits as a result of this agreement; however, it is unacceptable for the Koreans to not immediately open their market to our beef producers. Rather than immediately lifting the ban on American beef exports, the Free Trade Agreement calls for the reduction of beef tariffs over 15 years. This is simply unfair and unworkable, and does nothing to fix the problem of the South Korean ban on U.S. beef.

"South Korea has said it may allow access for U.S. beef after learning the results of a safety reclassification of U.S. meat made by a world health group next month. If South Korea chooses to disagree with this reclassification, we're back to having American beef shut out of South Korea, with no bargaining chips left on the table," said Thune.

The USDA and the Korean government announced an agreement to resume the shipment of U.S. beef to South Korea over 15 months ago. However, the South Korean government is still blocking U.S. beef exports. Senator Thune met with Korean Ambassador Lee in January and wrote to the Ambassador in February asking that the Korean government stop playing politics with U.S. beef exports.