October 07,2008

Baucus Calls for Redoubling Of Efforts to Open Markets to U.S. Beef

International Trade Commission report says global beef barriers cost industry billions

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) commented today on an International Trade Commission (ITC) report that shows that trade restrictions linked to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) but not warranted under World Animal Health Organization (OIE) Guidelines cost U.S. ranchers and beef processors nearly $11 billion dollars in lost beef exports between 2004 and 2007. The report, requested by Senator Baucus, examines the effects of global tariff and non-tariff barriers on U.S. beef exports, and found that BSE-related barriers in two countries in particular – Japan and Korea – were responsible for almost $9.5 billion in lost U.S. beef exports. These countries also maintain high tariffs and significant technical barriers on U.S. beef.

“This report verifies what ranchers in Montana and throughout the country have known and felt in their wallets for years – that unjustified, unscientific barriers to U.S. beef have severely limited U.S. beef exports. Nearly $11 billion of lost exports is an astonishing and unacceptable figure,” Baucus said. “While I’m pleased that Korea is accepting some U.S.beef, it is clear that USDA and USTR must redouble their efforts to fully open markets in Japan, China and the rest of the world to safe, delicious U.S. beef. Removing these barriers must be a top priority.”

The ITC report provides a comprehensive review of sanitary, animal health and other trade barriers in seven key markets: Japan, Korea, the European Union, China, Russia, Canada and Mexico, with a particular emphasis on barriers related to BSE. The report also highlights the differences among the BSE protocols adopted by these major beef importers, which create a costly and time-consuming maze for beef packers who must meet several different standards. Baucus has long maintained that ending the restrictions on U.S. beef and encouraging U.S.trading partners to follow OIE guidelines should be the first priority for U.S. agriculture and trade officials. In addition to lost exports due to BSE, the report found that elimination of tariffs and restrictive quotas in these key markets would result in more than $9 billion in added revenues toU.S. beef producers and packers.

The full ITC report may be viewed here: http://hotdocs.usitc.gov/docs/pubs/332/pub4033.pdf

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