The South Korean public, driven by fears over mad cow disease, has protested the deal in major cities, filed lawsuits to stop the deal and driven down the approval rating of the country’s president, elected only months ago in a landslide.
After the outbreak,
In April, the
Since the agreement was signed on April 18, the South Korean public has protested deal, demanding a renegotiation of the deal. In recent weeks, including one protest of 60,000, people have marched on the capital with Korean news agencies and the Associated Press reporting clashes between protestors and police. Implementation of the deal, scheduled to start this week, has been delayed because of the protests.
South Korean Agriculture Minister Chung Woon-chun, told
Major U.S. beef producers such as Tyson Foods Inc., Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., Smithfield Beef, National Beef Packing and JBS Swift have already announced a temporary labeling program for beef products that come from cattle more than 30 months old. The companies said in a joint release this week that the labels would be in use for 120 days. Most beef processed by the companies comes from cattle less than 30 months old.
That has not stopped protests, including 1,000 people gathering in
According to Yonhap, a government source said
Both countries have said that renegotiation of the deal is not an option.
The FTA, already passed by the U.S. Congress, has not been approved by the South Korean National Assembly because of opposition parties’ objection to the beef deal.
At this time, there has been no sign of change with the South Korean caught between diplomatic obligations and the public. The ruling party has already suffered losses in local elections because of the public anger over the beef deal.