Baucus Praises Thailand for Reopening Market to U.S. Beef
Senator Uses Announcement to Press Japan To Open Market
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), ranking member of the SenateFinance Committee, today welcomed news that Thailand has lifted its ban on U.S. beef, effectiveimmediately. Thailand imposed a ban on U.S. beef after the discovery of a Canadian-born, BSEinfecteddairy cow in Washington state in December 2003.
Baucus said he’s using the announcement to ramp up the push to get Japan, previously thelargest purchaser of U.S. beef, and Korea to open their borders as well.
“I commend the government of Thailand for being a leader in Asia by following soundscience in lifting the beef ban,” Baucus said. “U.S. beef is the safest and highest quality in theworld. I’m glad that Thailand has shown the way,” Baucus continued. “Now it is up to Japan,Korea, and others to follow Thailand’s lead.”
Japan and Korea continue to ban U.S. beef imports following cases of bovine spongiformencephalopathy, or BSE, in Canada and the United States.
Senator Baucus has led the effort in Congress to urge Thailand to lift its beef ban.Baucus traveled to Thailand in March 2004 to press the issue with Prime Minister Thaksin.Baucus also brought Ambassadors and other senior officials from Asian governments to hishome state of Montana in August 2004, where they were able to see the process used to ensurethat U.S. beef remains the highest quality in the world.
This past July, Baucus continued to pressure Thailand to lift its beef ban at the “Big Sky”Round of U.S.-Thailand negotiations, which was held in Great Falls, Montana at the invitation ofSenator Baucus.
Chirachai Punkrasin, current head of the Thai Embassy in Washington D.C., is one of themany senior Thai officials who have visited Montana at the invitation of Senator Baucus.
“I ate Montana beef with Senator Baucus at a ranch outside of Helena last summer,”Punkrasin said. “I’m happy Thailand has agreed to resume accepting imports of U.S. beef.Senator Baucus has consistently argued for the safety and quality of U.S. beef at all levels of mygovernment, from the Prime Minister on down. His efforts were key to lifting Thailand’s ban onU.S. beef imports.”
Baucus also applauded the strong work of the U.S. Trade Representative, AmbassadorRob Portman, and his negotiating team.
“Ambassador Portman and his team deserve special credit for the hard work they havedone to encourage Thailand to remove its beef ban. This is a terrific example of Congress andUSTR working in tandem to accomplish an important goal for U.S. ranchers.”
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