SALEM, Ohio – After months of talks, Japan agreed in late July to reopen its borders to U.S. beef.
The two countries have gone back and forth over beef imports since December 2003 when BSE was first found in the U.S.
Japan agreed to resume trade last December but U.S. exports were cut short a month later when Japan received a shipment containing backbone. Although that is not a specified risk material in young animals, the trade agreement did not allow it.
Prior to the ban in 2003, Japan was the largest importer of U.S. beef. U.S. exports in 2003 totaled $1.4 billion.
‘First step.’ National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said allowing imports from cows 20 months or younger is “an appropriate first step,” but not good enough.
“This step comes with product limitations on U.S. beef that are far too restrictive for American cattlemen to accept without an assurance by Japan to expand trade in the near future,” said Jay Truitt, the association’s vice president.
“The world’s leading scientists, medical professionals and government officials agree that the prevalence of BSE in the United States is extraordinarily low,” he said. “There is simply no scientific reason to ban any of our U.S. beef products.”
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