Seven members of the Senate Ag Committee sent a letter to USDA Secretary Mike Johanns and USTR Ambassador Sue Schwab stating that, without South Korea's resumption of U.S. beef exports and the acceptance of a bone tolerance for future shipments, they would oppose a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea. The Senators said: "As Members of the Senate Committee on Ag, Nutrition, and Forestry, we regret coming to this decision since Korea is an important ally and trading partner. However, we cannot reward bad behavior and must stand behind farmers and ranchers in the U.S. who produce the safest, highest quality product the world has to offer."

Signing the letter were Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Senate Ag Committee chairman; Norm Coleman (R-MN); Kent Conrad (D-ND); Pat Leahy (D-VT); Pat Roberts (R-KS); Jim Talent (R-MO); and Craig Thomas (R-WY).
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent