Sunday, 22 June 2008

South Korea and U.S. reach deal on beef imports

SEOUL, South Korea: More than 10,000 people rallied in central Seoul on Saturday night to protest beef imports from the United States, despite an announcement hours earlier that Seoul and Washington had agreed to restrict the shipments to allay South Koreans' concerns about mad cow disease.
Although the protest was smaller than a June 10 rally that drew at least 100,000 people, it indicated that President Lee Myung-bak had a long way to go before regaining public confidence.
American trade envoys agreed to restrict beef exports to cattle less than 30 months old, officials said earlier in the day. Younger cattle are considered to pose less risk of mad cow disease, a fatal brain illness that is sometimes transmitted to humans.
Until Seoul banned imports in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was detected in the United States, South Korea was the third largest overseas market for American beef, with imports totaling $800 million a year.

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