In 2008, a crowd of approximately 40,000 rioters clashed with police in Seoul in protest of the South Korean Government’s plans to lift its ban on imported US beef. In April of that year, South Korea agreed to recommence imports from the US after nearly five years of closed trade relations, due to the 2003 outbreak of mad cow disease. In 2008, demonstrators averred that US meat was still not safe from the disease.
“USMEF Korea is operating within a sensitive market and we needed a partner that understands the situation and is well-positioned to take us to a leadership position,” said Jihae Yang, director for USMEF Korea. “Weber Shandwick showed us a strategic consulting approach, and we were thrilled by the concept of creating advocates for our brand. It was a timely match for what we needed.”
USMEF additionally looks to develop existing international markets for pork, lamb and veal produced in the US. It has offices globally including Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei in Asia-Pacific, as well as representatives covering China.
The USMEF is one of 10 clients at Weber Shandwick Korea, which opened in November 2009.