Vilsack Visits Japan With A Trade Mission

US - The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is pleased with the news of US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s trade mission to Japan.
calendar icon 6 April 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

“We appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s efforts to strengthen the relationship between the US and Japan when it comes to trade in agricultural products between our two countries,” said Steve Foglesong, NCBA president.

“Japan is one of our top trading partners and it’s critical that the US continues to engage with Japan and all of our international trading partners about the necessity of abiding by science-based international guidelines in beef trade.”

Following a detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the US in 2003, Japan closed its borders to US beef. Now, Japan only allows beef products from cattle under 21 months of age, costing US producers roughly $1 billion in lost export revenues each year.

Since 1990, USDA’s BSE surveillance programme has resoundingly demonstrated that BSE in the US cattle herd is virtually non-existent. Internationally, it is likely that BSE will be fully eradicated from the planet within the next 10 to 15 years. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), has classified the Unites States as a controlled risk country for BSE—the same designation as Japan. This classification means that all beef products, regardless of age, can be safely traded as long as specified risk materials are removed.

“We are encouraged to see that the Obama Administration has announced that it intends to engage Japan in discussions about science-based import standards. Japan’s failure to apply the OIE guidelines continues to result in significant losses for the US beef industry—limiting us to about 25 per cent of our potential market there,” said Mr Foglesong.

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