June 03,2003

Grassley Praises Chile’s Decision on Meat Inspection Equivalency

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, today saidhe was pleased by Chile’s announcement that it will recognize the equivalency of the U.S. meatinspection system starting immediately. Talks regarding the meat inspection equivalency issue wereheld in conjunction with negotiations of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

“I’m very pleased with Chile’s decision,” Grassley said. “This is a major accomplishment for U.S. livestock and meat producers, including Iowa’s hog and cattle producers. With this technical barrier out of the way, and tariffs going to zero under the U.S.-Chile FTA, the United Stateshas the potential to greatly increase its exports of pork and beef to Chile.”

Up until now, Chile only permitted the importation of pork, beef, and lamb from U.S.facilities that paid for Chilean inspectors to travel to the United States to inspect and certify thesefacilities. Given the costs involved, few U.S. plants were certified to ship meat to Chile. Withtoday’s announcement, any meat produced in U.S. federal- or state-approved facilities will be viewedby Chile as equivalent to Chilean-inspected beef, and thus eligible to enter the Chilean market.

“I’m glad that Chilean officials apparently took to heart my concerns that the U.S.-Chile FTAcould stall in Congress without the resolution of the meat inspection equivalency issue,”
Grassleysaid. “A potentially major obstacle to the passage by Congress of the U.S.-Chile FTA has now beenremoved.”

On May 22, Grassley wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick urging that U.S.and Chilean officials work expeditiously to resolve the meat inspection equivalency matter. Thisletter was sent prior to a teleconference held by U.S. and Chilean officials on May 28 to discussdisputed technical standards and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures imposed by Chile that impede U.S. exports of agricultural products.

“Chile’s decision establishes a good precedent for other free trade agreements that the United States is negotiating,” Grassley said. “It demonstrates that enhancing our trade relations with othercountries can provide the impetus for them to remove unnecessary technical standards and SPSmeasures that block imports of U.S. products. The meat inspection equivalency issue was an important one for me and the people of Iowa. I’m glad it’s been resolved.”