Grassley Welcomes Agreement to Re-open Japan to U.S. Beef
Encourages Science-Based Discussions to Further Expand U.S. Accessz
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, todaywelcomed the announcement of a framework agreement between the United States and Japan thatpromises to reopen the Japanese market to imports of U.S. beef. Under the agreement, Japan willpermit the importation of U.S. beef from cattle aged 20 months or younger.
“I applaud the Bush Administration for keeping this issue so high on its agenda,” Grassleysaid. “This positive outcome demonstrates the commitment, and the success, of President Bush instanding up for U.S. agricultural producers.”
Following the detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in one imported cowin Washington State in December 2003, Japan suspended sales of U.S. beef. Under the agreement,Japan will no longer require that 100 percent of cattle be tested for BSE, a requirement that in effectblocked U.S. beef exports to Japan. Japan has agreed to drop this testing requirement for cattle aged20 months or younger.
“The announcement of this agreement is an important step forward,” Grassley said. “WhileI’m very pleased with the agreement, I strongly encourage Japan to expand upward the age of cattlefrom which it will accept beef as the science backs up the safety of such beef. From what Iunderstand, terms of the agreement will be reviewed for possible modification in July 2005, and thecut-off age for testing will be revisited at that time.”
Given required changes in Japanese regulations, it will take several weeks – at a minimum– for sales of U.S. beef actually to occur. “I’m confident that U.S. officials will remain engaged withtheir Japanese counterparts so that the regulatory approval process can move forward expeditiously,”Grassley said. “Iowa cattle producers, as well as Japanese consumers, will benefit from resumedexports of U.S. beef to Japan.”
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