NEW YORK - Singapore and South Korea plan to lift their bans on American beef, and Thailand also was negotiating to reopen its markets to U.S. imports, officials said last week.
tes in December 2003. At that time, South Korea was the third-largest market for U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports, totaling 246,958 metric tons valued at $815.8 million. U.S. beef accounted for about 5% of Singapore's beef imports prior to the ban, officials said.
For both countries, the agreement limits U.S. imports to boneless beef from cattle less than 30 months of age with specific risk materials, such as spinal cord and brain, removed in accordance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture safety protocols.
Variety meat, which made up about 14% of U.S. beef product exported to South Korea in 2003, is excluded. Other criteria established in the agreement will be included in a new beef verification program. U.S. beef exports will likely arrive in South Korea in late March, once the export verification program is finalized. Singapore will start accepting U.S. beef imports by the end of February, according to a report.
Thailand also was said to be working on an agreement to reopen its markets to American beef. According to the report, officials were to send new import requirements to the USDA this week.