DENVER –The Obama administration’s recent announcement to proceed with Congressional ratification of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement is encouraging to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Under the terms of the F.T.A., tariffs on U.S. beef and pork exports to Korea will be eliminated.

“As the E.U. and Australia move ever closer to implementing F.T.A.s with Korea, the urgency of the U.S.-Korea agreement becomes all the more pronounced,” said Philip Seng, U.S.M.E.F. president and chief executive office. “Korea’s high tariffs already impact demand by artificially raising the cost for consumers. But the situation will become even more difficult if our major competitors in the market get a running head start on the tariff reduction process.”

Australia gaining a price advantage would be especially unfortunate now that U.S. beef is regaining market share and finding renewed success in Korea, Mr. Seng said. Beef export value to Korea is running nearly 60% ahead of last year, and has been especially strong in recent weeks.

“We have come so far since U.S. beef returned to Korea in 2008,” Mr. Seng said. “U.S. beef is back in Korea’s major retail stores and restaurant chains, and is gaining consumer acceptance every day. Ratification of the F.T.A. would allow us to build further on this momentum.”