13 Jul 2010

Hopes raised for beef exports to Sth Korea

12:53 pm on 13 July 2010

A New Zealand sheep and beef industry representative hopes that South Korean farmers will be less resistant to beef imports from this country as a result of recent talks.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chair Mike Petersen was in Korea as part of discussions to get free trade negotiations restarted.

South Korea is New Zealand's second biggest export beef market. Meat exports sent there last year were worth more than $150 million.

But Korea imposes tariffs of 40% on New Zealand beef and duties of more than 70% on processed meat.

New Zealand wants to negotiate the phasing-out of those tariffs in a free trade deal.

Korean farmers are worried about competition from beef imports and have fiercely opposed free trade agreements with this country, as well as with the United States and Australia.

However, Mr Petersen says that meetings with farming representatives there may have eased some of their concerns about New Zealand beef.

He says the talks were very constructive, and frank at times.

It was explained that New Zealand beef is completely grass-fed and not grain fed, and completely different to American beef.