December 12,2007

Baucus Irked Over Lack of Progress on Beef in Beijing

Chairman urges immediate progress in lifting China’s beef ban

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
expressed strong disappointment over lack of progress in opening the Chinese market to
U.S. beef during this week’s Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) talks in
Beijing. JCCT meetings ended yesterday with progress on some issues, but with no
commitments by China to lift its unscientific restrictions on U.S. beef. Senior U.S. and
Chinese officials continue meetings this week in Beijing in the context of the Strategic
Economic Dialogue (SED).

“My patience with China is running out on the beef issue,”
Baucus said. “While
there are many complexities in U.S.-China ties, opening China to U.S. beef is pretty
straightforward. The world’s scientists and consumers agree that American beef is
safe and second to none. I find it hard to understand why the JCCT talks made no
progress on beef, especially in light of previous commitments made by China on this
issue. I hope that Ambassador Schwab and Secretary Paulson resolve this issue in
their remaining days in Beijing.”

During the April 2006 JCCT meeting, China committed to open its market to American
beef and beef products and in May 2007 pledged to open its market to U.S. boneless and
bone-in beef from cattle younger than 30 months of age. Since that time, the World
Animal Health Organization (OIE) has certified the safety of all U.S. beef, bone-in and
boneless, regardless of age.

Baucus and Finance Committee Ranking Republican Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
wrote to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and
United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab on December 7, outlining expectations
for the JCCT and SED. To see the text of that letter, please visit the Finance Committee

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