The announcement by President Obama that negotiators for the United States and South Korea have reached consensus on their free-trade agreement is very welcome news for U.S. red meat producers, processors and exporters, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

The U.S. red meat industry would reap significant benefits under the FTA from the gradual elimination of duties on pork and beef exports to Korea, according to USMEF.
 
"I would like to take this opportunity to personally congratulate the U.S. negotiators for their dedication and commitment to pursuing these discussions to a successful conclusion," said USMEF President and chief executive officer Philip Seng.
 
Seng also acknowledged the leadership of Montana Sen. Max Baucus in achieving the resumption of beef exports to Korea in 2008. 
 
USMEF looks forward to working closely with Korean importers, food service and retailers as well as consumers to provide the high quality products they enjoy from the United States.  This agreement provides a good opportunity for U.S. agriculture and is great news for Korea's consumers.
 
Through the first nine months of 2010, U.S. pork exports to Korea are down about 17 percent year-over-year, but still total 141.6 million pounds valued at $136.5 million. For the same period, beef exports stand at 180.5 million pounds valued at $383.8 million- an increase of 136 percent in volume and 181 percent in value versus the same period in 2009. 

Source: USMEF