March 14,2005

Baucus Meets with Japanese Ambassador to Discuss Ban on U.S. Beef

Senator Urges Resumption in U.S. Beef Exports to Japan

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Today, Senator Max Baucus, Ranking Member of the Senate FinanceCommittee, co-hosted a meeting with Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley forSenators to meet with Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato to urge Japan to lift its ban on U.S. beefexports. Senator Baucus has been a leading voice in pushing to reopen Japan’s market to U.S.beef. He visited Japan in March of last year, soon after the ban was imposed, and discussed theissue with Japanese leaders.

“It’s imperative that we stay on top of this issue. Beef is an important export product forMontana, and Japan is historically the largest export market. The Japanese are working to lift theban, but there is a sense – even among some Japanese – that the sluggish pace of progress so faris driven more by politics than science,” Baucus said. “This meeting will help underscore howserious I and other members of Congress are about this issue.”

Senators Grassley and Baucus arranged the private meeting between the Senators and theAmbassador to allow Senators to have a candid discussion with the Ambassador on the status ofthe resumption of beef trade with Japan.

“The Ambassador assured us that progress is being made. He said that Japan intends toallow beef from cattle under 20 months of age to enter its borders after its rulemaking process iscomplete,” Baucus said. “I will continue to follow this situation to make sure the resumption inbeef trade happens as soon as possible.”

Japan was the largest importer of U.S. beef before Japan banned the importation of U.S.beef after the discovery of a Canadian-born BSE-infected dairy cow in Washington state in2003. Japan imported $1.3 billion of U.S. beef in that year alone.

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