BIO Commends USTR for Successfully Concluding U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 16, 2007) -- The following statement was issued today by Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood regarding the recent conclusion of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement negotiations:

“BIO applauds Ambassador Susan Schwab and the staff at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for their hard work in reaching a successful conclusion of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.  By recognizing the value of innovative, patented new medicines and raising the standards of protection for intellectual property rights, the FTA will go a long way in providing additional market access opportunities in Korea for U.S. biotechnology companies. 

“BIO also congratulates Chief Agricultural Negotiator Richard Crowder and his staff for negotiating a separate understanding on several agricultural biotechnology issues.  With BIO’s support, the United States worked with the Republic of Korea to address a number of issues over the past year focused on ensuring that Korea’s agricultural biotechnology regulations are science-based, and that trade of biotech-derived crops, foods, and feeds continues without disruption.  With over one billion dollars in U.S. exports that may be produced from agricultural biotechnology products, achieving a constructive dialogue on these matters is a significant achievement.

“Korea has made important new commitments in the area of biopharmaceuticals that should provide the Korean people greater access to cutting-edge, life-saving new medicines.  While it is disappointing that the Korean Government refused to address details relating to Korea’s new drug pricing and reimbursement regulations, I am pleased that they have committed to adequately recognize the value of patented medicines and have agreed to an independent review body to review pricing and reimbursement decisions.  Coupled with provisions increasing transparency, allowing greater dissemination of product-specific information over the Internet, and strengthening intellectual property rights, this package of commitments will help level the playing field for U.S. biotech companies in Korea.

“It is imperative that the U.S. Government closely monitor the implementation of Korea’s FTA commitments regarding agricultural biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals.  In particular, I urge the U.S. Government to work with Korea to ensure that Korea’s new government reimbursement system for medicines does not run counter to the important goal of rewarding innovation and providing greater access to effective new medicines for the Korean people.”

About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.  BIO also produces the annual BIO International Convention, the global event for biotechnology.


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May 6-9, 2007
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June 18-20, 2007

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Sep. 24–26, 2007

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