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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It's NOT About the Beef....

Ever since South Korea agreed to resume its import of the US beef, there has been mounting voices against the resumption...these voices were there before, but they got louder and louder as the time went on (probably because they know they can't stop the flow of beef, and the time for the US beef to hit the South Korean market is getting closer by the second)... over the long weekend and going into this week, the voices against US beef is reaching their climax...I think. It's gotten to the point where anti-US beef organizations in South Korea are sending messages to public school teachers urging them to teach students about why US beef is not safe for human consumption. The political parties are coming up with ways to undo the trade agreements as well as plans to persuade the citizens to calm down. Some South Korean political parties are clamoring for a re-negotiation with the US. US response to all of this is one of calm assurance...of course, what else could the US do? And even if it could, why would it? Anyway, as someone who eats American beef nearly everyday (despite the claimed dangers of mad cow disease), I would just like to point out something to everyone who is so worried about the US beef entering the Korean market... hate to say it, but this Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) is not about the beef. Beef, in fact, is only serving as a diversion from those issues that may be more controversial in each of the countries. So, what are some of the issues that beef is serving as the smoke screen for? Well, they are pharmaceuticals, automobile, service (financial, insurance, medical, etc), steel and electronics industries. So, without going into elaborate details on how these industries could affect the Korean and US economies when the FTA goes into effect, one can already guess that what's really important here is that...It's not about the beef. So, for those of you who were out protesting on the Seoul streets...and for those of you who got on Korean TV talking about the dangers of the US beef...I fully understand your concerns (whether that be health or financial), but you really missed the point.