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South Korea Complies With WTO Ruling

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton today welcomed measures taken by South Korea to remove retail restrictions on imported beef in compliance with the ruling from the World Trade Organisation.

Mr Sutton said the Korean Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's revoking of regulations requiring imported beef to be sold in separate retail outlets from domestic beef was an important breakthrough. Korean retailers will now be able to sell beef regardless of its origin.

"South Korea's compliance with the WTO will help level the playing field for imported beef. It's good news for Korean consumers and New Zealand exporters."

South Korea's action marks the culmination of longstanding dispute proceedings at the WTO by the United States and Australia against restrictive practices in the distribution and sale of imported beef in Korea. The WTO ruled in favour of the US and Australia in July 2000, but South Korea appealed the removal of separate retail establishments. New Zealand participated in the dispute as a third party.

South Korea is New Zealand's fifth largest export market for frozen beef. Beef exports to South Korea totalled $39.5 million for the year ending June 2001. New Zealand has a relatively small share of the Korean market for imported beef - currently 8 per cent.

"Korea's actions are an incentive for our exporters to further develop this important market."

Mr Sutton said Korea's compliance underlined the importance of the WTO to New Zealand in providing a rules based system for international trade.


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