WASHINGTON – Almost 20,000 of U.S. beef have cleared customs since South Korea reopened its market to American beef in June, according to South Korea’s U.S. embassy.

The total of 19,986 tons includes 12,300 tons of newly arrived beef, with the rest having waited for clearance.

The number of processors preparing beef for export to South Korea has also reportedly rose from 30 to 48.

South Korea's pro-U.S. President Lee Myung-bak faced weeks of street rallies and candle vigils earlier this year amid rising concerns by South Koreans over the safety of U.S. beef. The protests forced Lee to renegotiate a deal that allowed American beef into the country.

American beef shipments had been suspended in 2003 after the first case of mad cow disease was found in the U.S.


Source: Yonhap News Agency