Borror adds the US is the only major beef supplier to have reached such an agreement with South Korea. As a result, the US beef industry’s competitive advantage in this market will likely increase as time goes by.
Although some imported pork products have been entering South Korea on a duty-free basis during the past year, this was just a temporary measure to help alleviate South Korea’s pork supply shortage caused by a severe foot-and-mouth disease outbreak that took place in 2010.
More gradual but permanent tariff relief for the US will be achieved thanks to the free-trade agreement. All US pork products will reach duty-free status by 2016. This schedule will provide the US with an advantage over most competitors and eventually put the US industry back on a level playing field with Chilean pork, which currently faces the lowest duty rates in the South Korean market, Borror said.