Call For Action On Bans On US Beef

US - A group of more than 30 US senators have called on the US trade representative Ron Kirk and the agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack to pull out the stops to remove the trade barriers imposed by Japan and China on US beef.
calendar icon 5 August 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

In a letter to the two officials the senators led by Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and Senator Pat Roberts, the committee’s Ranking Member say that it is critical that the USTR and USDA keep up high level pressure to get the barriers removed.

"We believe continuous high-level engagement by USTR and USDA is critical to making progress towards ending China and Japan’s unscientific restrictions to US beef products," the senators say.

"To maintain and expand the global market for US beef, there must now be stronger, sustained outreach to China, Japan, and other countries that continue to limit access to our beef."

They added: "In response to an occurrence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in 2003, the United States adopted even more rigorous BSE safeguard procedures. These extraordinary precautions led the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to find that US beef of all ages is safe. Despite this finding, Japan still maintains an unscientific ban on US beef over 20 months of age.

"As a result, US beef exports to Japan remain nearly one billion dollars below their pre-2003 levels. Similarly, China has been the fastest growing market for US exports overall during the last decade but remains the only major market completely closed to US beef due to BSE."

In all 39 senators signed the letter tat also urged speedy action to resolve the Free Trade Agreement with South Korea and ease trade relations with the country.

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