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Hyundai Motor workers strike over U.S. beef imports

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Blind korean ethnic nationalism. The cure, is education,education and education. Why don't sue, the government in court, better rewards.

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HA!! HA!! HA!!

Union speaks out against beef sales, also.

They'd rather buy Austrailian beef. < :-)

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Memo to every South Korean: It's just beef. If you don't want to eat it, then don't buy it.

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Haha, more hysteria from the same people who brought smash hits like "if you sleep with the fan on, you'll die".

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I think U.S. beef producers should strike over Hyundai car imports.

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How much can the US take? Maybe they should bow their heads and say "Yes, you are right. We are now going to leave the Korean peninsular and leave you to the loving (and welcoming) arms of uncle Kim."

On a more serious note, any discussion of food safety by South Korea (and the interest groups behind this demonstration) needs to be taken with a big grain of salt. This is a country with a proud record for outbreaks of avarian influenza, foot & mouth, and a number of other nasty livestock diseases, all of which occured on a much bigger scale than the US BSE incident. The same could also be said of Japan.

At the same time, however, the US beef industry has to pick up its game. One issue would be getting the USDA more widely involved in "PDP" (paddock to plate) programs that allow both industry and consumers to track what they are eating. Australia already has such a program in place. The US also has to more rigorously enforce the ban on MBM (meat and bone meal), which has been one of the major factors contributing to BSE penetration of beef herds worldwide.

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Sorry, I don't buy it. While it is hidden in the article. The real reason for the strike is there in black and white. They are striking over money. They just want their strike to have a 'patriotic' veneer. However, underneath it is just about money.

Hyundai’s union said it is striking not only over the beef issue, but also over its stalled collective wage negotiation with management. Last year, the strike-prone union drew praise after concluding wage talks without a strike for the first time in a decade.

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In these days of worldwide food shortage, let us enjoy our own beef and refuse to sell to Korea.

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timborder has the answer in his last paragraph. It is the same problem that Japan has with US beef, and the same issue that the whole article manages to avoid touching. All the rest is huge emotive energy that is being used cynically by people with other agendas. Yes, they look stupid jumping up and down.

I don't have an axe to grind over this one way or the other, but it does seem to me that the US beef industry is clearly being bull-headed when if they took a different approach they could sell amicably to both Japan and Korea. A little bit of self discipline and self regulation, and a little listen to find out what extra they can do to sell their product might just do wonders. But since they won't listen to anyone, they will just have to discover this for themselves.

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so now i protest against korean cars, so its a win-win for me...i get to eat more US beef, and don't buy a korean bumper-car

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the proletariat seems rather united on this one. SoKo democracy looks to be in deep kimichi as these protests show a communist movement growing in strength and number.

its only a matter of time before SoKo prosperity gives way to NoKo mismanagement and then where these morons be? Starving their skinny butts off begging the US for grain.

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I would certainly refuse to buy a Korean-made automobile if there were a $25 safety check that would give me peace of mind, if I were willing to pay for the safety check and the Korean automotive makers refused to perform it because it was statistical overkill.

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Koreans do not want useless meat from USA. If they cannot live up to the clients expectations then you are not a good sales man. If the product is good then there should be no problem selling the product. Just like most things made in USA. It does not hold international standards.

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Let them strike, who gives a crap?

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more people have died in Hyundais then from eating US Beef. You don't see American consumers launching stupid protests over the issue.

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Good for Koreans to speak out.

I love the people on here who say, "If you don't want it, don't buy it".

I've got a better one for you, and one more suitable to customer relations:

"If the customer doesn't want it, DON'T FORCE IT ON THEM!" This includes your senators crying to the president and threatening sanctions if people don't shoved potentially diseased cow down their throats.

A solution to ALL beef-ban problems: American updates its testing methods and actually starts testing ALL cattle, thereby showing their customer they actually give a sh$$ about them and not just about the bottom line.

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I rarely agree with smithinjapan on anything but I do on this one. In todays difficult and competitive global economy we are simply being stupid not to revamp our entire policy and outlook on our beef export industry where we have and can, if we are willing, to maintain our global dominance.

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"Koreans do not want useless meat from USA. If they cannot live up to the clients expectations then you are not a good sales man. If the product is good then there should be no problem selling the product. Just like most things made in USA. It does not hold international standards." First of all before launching into a defense of US beef, I should say that I am an Australian who has rather strong links with the beef industry in Australia. That being said, however, from a technical perspective US beef is some of the best in the word from a specifications point of view.

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If the customer doesn't want it then don't eat it! There is more to this protest than beef, like another poster stated. Beef is just a small part but the dislike of their president is much more. Here in the US if there is something imported like from China that has caused death or injury we don't go out and protest against China we just don't buy it or eat it, plain and simple. And the violent protests are ridiculous.

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Seems that most arguments supporting South Korea are mostly just catchphrases, ie "the customer is always right" or similar. I guess when looking at overwhelming statistical odds one turns into Johnny Cochran.

People, it's nearly impossibility to catch mad cow disease. Telling someone to add $25 to his cost of good sold to give "peace of mind" to people who have fallen under the influence of mass hysteria is something I'd fire my CEO over. It's no wonder that those coming out in support of South Korea are the usual suspects. I guess if you can say the words then it's an argument.

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Personally, I'd fire my CEO if he refused to add $25 to cost of goods sold when the consumer is willing to pay for it and when the refusal resulted in less product being moved.

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As ridiculous as these protests are, they do sort of have a point. The US should do a better job with their beef industry as it relates to consumer safety. However if one reads the article closely you notice:

spurred in part by false media reports about risks

This is a case of part misunderstanding, part ulterior motives (on the part of the protesters), and part deficiency on the part of American exporters.

Politics and food don't usually work well together

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Old line smitty, still means diddly squat:

"If the customer doesn't want it, DON'T FORCE IT ON THEM!"

Again, you are missing the point. The customers, like here in Japan, are not getting the opportunity to say they don't want it. The government is interfering in, what should be, an open market. Let the consumer decide ! hell they buy alcohol, tobacco products, and automobiles which kill thousands of Koreans every year. So please don't be ignorant and try to argue that this is a "public safety" issue... it aint ! Again, I say ban sales of Daewoo, Samsung, Kia, and any other Korean product till they get the message about what it means to be a "trading partner" ! This is a huge step back to obvious forms of market protection employed by Asian nations for decades. The governments of both Korea and Japan look to con the public into paying higher consumer prices by these ridiculous scare tactics... which smithinjapan obviously swallowed hook-line-and sinker !

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The customers, like here in Japan, are not getting the opportunity to say they don't want it. The government is interfering

The people are the ones saying they don't want it. President Lee Myung-bak supports the resumption of imports.

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Okyaku-sama wa kami (the customer is a god) and should be treated as such. On the other hand people are politicizing the issue and twisting it for personal gain. There needs to be change on both sides.

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In the end it is the Korean consumer who is getting the royal screw job. Blocking competition from their market or scaring the hell out of the public prevents market forces from offering the best products at the lowest prices.

Its pretty obvious to any rational human being that the ban on US beef is nothing more than trade protection disguised as a public safety issue. No one has ever gotten Crutchfield Jacob's Syndrome from eating US beef yet there are still people out there that are either too ignorant or too biased in their thinking to understand that they are supporting unfair trade practices. If the US played the same game, these geniuses would be screaming bloody murder.

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Koreans are the nuttiest bunch on the planet. You think Palestinians riot? No way! Koreans not only riot (I say riot, because they never protest, just riot) over legitimate political issues but every other ridiculous idea anyone with a bullhorn can muster. Its raining today! Let go to the streets and riot! Blame the Americans for giving us a rainy day!!!Fact is Korea next to China makes some of the most inferior crap on the planet. Their cars are the worst example of cheap, but quality. They never learned a thing from the Japanese car makers in that light. SO fine don't buy American beef, there plenty of other hungry countries willing to buy all there is. But oh wait? How many Kias and Hyundais are on the road in the US not many. Probably less now with all the America bashing going on. Ask any Japanese would they be caught dead in a Korean car? Time we pull ALL US forces out of SKorea....

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Yo Korea, if you don't want American beef don't buy it. You keep on shooting yourselves in the foot while the rest of world looks on with laughter. What the hell does striking a car plant have to do with imported beef? Oh, that's right it's Korea there doesn't have to be a logical connection.

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Smith you are correct on this one, America needs to get it together and meet the customer's demands if they want to sell meat abroad. That said my criticism of Korean fanaticism stands.

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Many recent events in East Asia make me feel like I’m reliving history. I hope the Koreans stop acting like the Japanese in 1930s when they started to blame the foreign country for their own bad economy. There are also suicidal aspects. I do not see why they attack thier own company or even country to the point they give fatal damages to it.

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Why is it we see all these riots and dissatisfaction in Korea about US beef and the US government keeps trying to shove it down their throats? But they just had to get this agreemant with the US prior to george bush's visit. < :-)

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Personally, I'd fire my CEO if he refused to add $25 to cost of goods sold when the consumer is willing to pay for it and when the refusal resulted in less product being moved.

Hey, whatever it takes to avoid discussing the statistics...

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These people should ONLY worry about "Mad Kim disease" from NK, not "mad cow disease".

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US doesn'tt allow beef greater than 30 months to be used for human consumption due to BSE issues yet they wanted SK to accept beef greater than 30 months on the same machinery that processes <30 month beef. =seems like a dangerous practice in relation to BSE.

Maybe if everyone would passionately riot like SK: -end of Iraq/Afghanistan war. -the U.S. Military out of Japan -lower fuel prices and more fuel efficient cars (US only)

Moral: people are lazy and do not like change and politicians are 5x worse. Change is difficult, but the SKs got their beef policy changed and Gov and Big Beef to listen.

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SuperLib,

You were discussing statistics? I don't think so. You were taking a potshot instead of discussing statistics.

If you want to discuss statistics, statistically US beef is safe. The statistical standards for safety are "international" standards primarily engineered by beef producing countries--most notably the US. They are not unreasonable standards. They simply are not conclusive ones.

I think consumers should be free to ask for additional safety checks. I'm not sure what problem you have with that concept, but I can see no valid reason for not performing such checks when cost of those checks can be passed along to the consumer and when you will still have a product which won-for-won is the cheapest and tastiest on the market.

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usaexpat said it BEST! Protests like this seem so common in Korea. Wasting time and energy on something that, in most cases, is going to mount out to nothing. Save that time and use it at the Hyundai factory. Use the energy to improve the quality of your cars, Hyundai! The decision is up to the customer, if he/she doesn't want US beef, he/she won't buy it.

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I think consumers should be free to ask for additional safety checks. I'm not sure what problem you have with that concept,

Once again we see how you refuse to keep the debate within the context of the article, where your case completely falls apart. Keep up with the Business 101 catchphrases. I'm sure you have an unlimited supply of them.

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"The government is interfering in, what should be, an open market"

"The decision is up to the customer, if he/she doesn't want US beef, he/she won't buy it."

Did I read the wrong article? I thought that the Korean government agreed to import the beef from the US and I thought the people/consumers are protesting the act of the government.

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SuperLib,

I think I can only see how you refuse to specify.

What statistics are you talking about? What do you imagine the context of the article to be. How does "my case"--as opposed to say, my opinion--completely fall apart based on the article.

You have served up unsupported claims. If you can support them, maybe I can help you understand how what I am saying is relevant.

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I agree with usaexpat and shmaye. Even if Korean consumers had a legit gripe, this behavior is just irrational. Whenever Koreans have these mass protests about some perceived slight from Japan/US etc., whatever point they are trying to make is overshadowed by the perception that there is no reasoning with Koreans, in which case it is hard to see how it is worth the effort to consider the point. I don't know why that is so difficult to understand. How would the Koreans like it if the US consumers all rioted and demanded no more importation of Korean cars and electronics until the Koreans showed less anti-Americanism? They would have a collective coronary in Seoul, calling Americans every dirty name in the book. But it's the SAME DAMN THING!

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I don't agree that this behavior is irrational.

The new government of South Korea is unpopular. Within months of taking office, Lee caved in to American demands. Beef is not the most important issue, but it is an issue which can galvanize more Koreans beyond the unions.

This is anything but irrational.

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Kwaabish... wrong again !

"I thought that the Korean government agreed to import the beef from the US and I thought the people/consumers are protesting the act of the government.2

It's not "the people or consumers" it's organized political groups and local thugs ! What's even worse is this quote:

"But the move provoked a backlash over health concerns spurred in part by false media reports about risks"

Huh ??? Say again... "False media reports" ??? WTF is that all about ? I've said this before, the US needs to take the visual media types to court for slander and the print media to court for libel ! Japan did it in the wake of the 0-517 moyashi (sprouts) scare about 5 years ago with very good results ! In the meantime I'd suggest all American cattle ranchers bust out their sledgehammers and take their frustrations out on a hyundai somewhere !

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Yo Korea. I am glad I don't eat meat, but if I did, I would never eat one of your bulgogies, or Yakiniku's! I will not longer buy your kimchi, nor will I allow a Korean Drama DVD in my house.

These are the same people when one of their shot up a bunch of students and announced a plea as to don't consider all Koreans crazy. Well, after witnessing such a protest, I am sorry I can not meet you plea.

I wish the US government would stop giving 50k to Korean immigrants for business start ups, or did any of you not know about that?

For god sakes, if you don't want the frigging meat, don't frigging buy it.

I can understand a protest, but this my Korean friends is way out of hand.

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This is anything but irrational.

(rolling my eyes) If you say so, Sez...

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"Kwaabish... wrong again !"

So you're suggesting a Korean government conspiracy whereby the Korean government actually does NOT agree to the import of US beef?

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SuperLib,

It seems that rolling your eyes is what you do in lieu of argument.

If you disagree that Korean workers are acting rationally here, you might try to say why. I realize this only burdens you with one more request to be specific, but since you aren't addressing any of these requests I'm sure you'll bear up quite nicely.

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Oh Sez, I was just having a little fun with you. The fact is you have no position. I was carrying you for a couple of rounds to see how far out there you'd go and it's been entertaining for me. Debating this issue with you would be as practical as debating Building 7 conspiracy theorists. Some people want to be on the other side of the US government so much that they'll pull their pants down and humiliate themselves just to do it. Looks like only you, daydream, and smithinjapan took your belts off. We all thank you for that. The thread would have been boring without it.

Ta.

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kwaabish:

"So you're suggesting a Korean government conspiracy whereby the Korean government actually does NOT agree to the import of US beef?"

I suggest nothing ! I speak pretty damn straight, and the poop is, nationalist fervor and market protectors are raising havoc on one of the worlds most popular and statistically safe products... US Beef ! Now make no mistakes, I have no problem with this... but the Koreans need to be held accountable for their actions. Like with Japan I suggest "managed" trade with the Asians and not free trade. America has tolerated million dollar trade imbalances with these nations long enough. Time to square the till ! I say ban Korean products ! They don't produce anything Americans can't anyway. let em starve ! Better yet, let em keep believing there is no bse in Australia ! Now there's a joke for you !

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Westurn:

OK, so you spoke pretty darn straight, "the (Korean) government is interfering in, what should be an open market"

Your words.

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Pretty damn straight indeed...

"the (Korean) government is interfering in, what should be an open market"

No need for the Korean government to have been involved in the frst place ! And then to go back to the US agriculture reps to "re-work" a deal ??? Whatta buncha nonsense ! I don't see Bush giving the "yay or nay" on Korean cars as they pull up to American sea ports... do you ???

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Westurn,

While Bush may not give a "yay or nay" on importing of Kias and Hyundai's, there are certain safety guidelines and standards, exhaust limits and fixtures that said Kias and Hyundai must have to be able to be sold in the US.

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Kwaabish ??? I'm confused, didn't the Koreans already agree to import American beef ? Weren't the "standards, guidelines, and limits" decided at that time ??? Sure were bucko ! So why all the backsteppin' by the K gov ? Again... time to take a hammer to the daewoo !

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Last time a checked Korea was a democracy and their government elected to represent the will of the people. If the government doesn't act in accordance to majority of people's will, then the have every right to protest(A fundamental freedom and part of democracy).

If it interferes with market forces or capitalism than so be it becuase there is no country in this world that operates in a purely capitalist state. Even the US engages in protectism, subsidising, corporate welfare and long list of other things that interfere with a free market.

The governments of both Korea and Japan look to con the public into paying higher consumer prices by these ridiculous scare tactics.

Just following the lead of the USA (I.E. Canadian Beef)

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Westurn,

"Weren't the "standards, guidelines, and limits" decided at that time ???"

If standards never changed, Hyundais could be importing cars that still take leaded gas and would have no rear seat seat belts for child seats. Governments or regulatory bodies constantly change "standards" all the time.

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Eat your own beef then. Who cares?

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SuperLib,

You were having a little fun alright, but it was mostly at your own expense. I've repeatedly asked you to be specific about your claims but you cannot or will not.

What is embarrassing is that US beef producers will not perform a cheap and inexpensive safety check and then want to blame the consumers. What is embarrassing is that the US State Department prohibits US companies from performing these safety checks on a voluntary basis. And what is embarrassing is that so you and others are so reactivated by the issue that you substitute sarcasm for argument.

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Your arguments are more suited for a cheap salesman. "Do you want to protect your family? Well then let's discuss this personal lightening strike policy. It's only $25. Surely you want to protect your family. Who wouldn't want to protect their family? It's a family protection issue."

(That was a joke, Sez, there really is no such insurance. Put your checkbook away.)

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hopefully, this will cause the US to stop buying Korean cars. honestly, my dad bought one and it broke down just as bad as a Chevy. the only redeeming quality is the 100,000 mile warranty attached.

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SuperLib,

If that is the case, you must have a good counterargument. But you choose to let characterizations stand in the stead of civil discourse. I don't know what benefit you derive from that, but if I can give you satisfaction at no harm to myself, I'm happy to do so.

That's kind of like the beef issue. Whether the extra $25--(per head, about 3.3 cents per pound dressed assuming only a 750 pound dressed carcass, not all of it being meat of course)--actually increases health safety is a little bit beside the point. If it increases consumer willingness to buy at the higher price, there is no business reason not to do the test.

Additionally, the more cattle you test, the more diseased animals you will be willing to eliminate. That should be a good thing, not a bad thing, if the consumer is willing to pay. That is, it should be a good thing unless there's a problem.

Unlike the personal lightening strike policy which does not exist, the test for BSE does. And if it brings peace of mind to the consumer, just as your posting of two-dimensional characterizations must be assumed to bring satisfaction to yours, then it is a good business decision.

The only better business decision would be to take a temporary loss because you feel you might take a bigger permanent one. And you might do this if you thought you could count on your eventual ability to prise open doors which had been shut. To take a temporary loss because the consumer was stupid would be, well, un-American.

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It is too much. Perhaps it is time for Americans to stop buying Hyundai cars.

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The Koreans have resorted to what are extreme measures when the government has agreed to open the markets in the past. For example, poisonous snakes were released in theatres which screened Hollywood movies.

Don't take the beef brouhaha at face value; it has simply proved to be a lightening rod to mobilize people dissatisfied with their own government. After all, it's relatively easy to misrepresent issues requiring some scientific knowledge, be it the threat posed by WMD or imported beef, and whip up public hysteria.

There's a bunch of other issues which are more difficult to mobilize around. Corruption, particularly in construction, has proved difficult to eradicate in Korea. The president himself, who is seen as pro-American by his citizens, has benefited personally from a publicly-funded construction project of large proportion. So his adversaries are using beef to try and get him to resign.

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"the (Korean) government is interfering in, what should be an open market"

In fact foodstuffs are a national security issue and therefore always subject to government regulation. Back in the 1980s, in what looked like a way to redress the U.S.-Japanese trade imbalance, Japanese corporations proposed buying American cattle ranches to supply Japanese consumers with American beef. Guess what? The deal never went through. If a government allowed foreign concerns to buy up its farmland what would happen in the event of war? The enemy could starve you in this way.

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