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News article13 June 2024BrusselsDirectorate-General for Trade1 min read

Trade barriers removed from exports of French and Irish beef to Republic of Korea

French and Irish beef producers will once again be able to export beef to the Republic of Korea, thanks to the European Commission’s efforts to negotiate the removal of local restrictions on EU beef.  

In a significant development for the European beef industry, the Republic of Korea has officially opened market access for beef from France and Ireland. This positive result follows consistent representations made by the Commission, including through direct outreach by Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis in Seoul last November, when he raised the removal of restrictions on imports of EU beef with ministers and parliamentarians. The Republic of Korea is one of the biggest import markets for beef in the world.  

The removal of this trade barrier not only marks the start of French and Irish beef exports to the Republic of Korea, but also underscores the cooperative efforts between the EU and the Republic of Korea to ensure the safety and quality of traded food products. The Commission anticipates that other Member States will soon follow in being able to export beef to the Republic of Korea, further deepening our trading relationship.  


In 2001, the Korean market was closed to imports from 15 EU Member States due to outbreaks of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). The European Union is known for providing high-quality and safe beef products. Yet, despite its stringent measures guaranteeing the safety of EU beef, the Union faced a trade blockade from the early 2000s onwards. Following extensive discussions with the European Commission, the Republic of Korea re-opened its market to EU beef from Denmark and the Netherlands in 2019. Now, five years later, this recognition has been extended to beef from France and Ireland, acknowledging the high level of safety ensured by the EU’s harmonised food safety control measures. 

International trade is a key source of revenue for the European beef sector. The EU is a major net exporter of beef, exporting 1.05 million tonnes of beef in 2023, and importing 289,000 tonnes, for a sectoral trade surplus of 761,000 tonnes.  

For more information 

EU trade relations with the Republic of Korea 



Publication date
13 June 2024
Directorate-General for Trade
Country or region
  • South Korea
Trade topics
  • Actions against exports from the EU
  • EU companies accessing world markets