June 30,2006

Baucus Reacts to China Beef Announcement

Today’s action from Beijing leaves major steps left to take on opening market

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, expressed encouragement over China's decision today to lift its ban on boneless U.S. beef from cattle less than 30 months old. But Montana’s senior Senator said he will not be satisfied until China resumes trade in the full range of U.S. beef products.

“Today’s action is a good first step, but we have not reached the end of the road by any means,” said Baucus. “Montana and U.S. beef, whether it’s boneless, bone-in, offals, less than or older than 30 months, is safe and should be allowed in China’s market now. I will continue to press China to lift its remaining restrictions on U.S. beef.”

The United States employs a system of interlocking food safety safeguards, which meet the international standards for BSE protection developed by the World Organization for Animal Health. U.S. officials have met repeatedly with their Chinese counterparts to review these standards.“China’s refusal to accept the full range of U.S. beef products ignores international standards and strong scientific evidence that demonstrates the safety of U.S. beef,” said Baucus.

Baucus has repeatedly urged the Chinese government to lift the ban on U.S. beef. He raised this issue with China’s Premier Wen Jiabao and Commerce Minister Bo Xilai in Beijing in January. He also sent several letters to China’s Vice Premier Wu Yi, urging China to agree to lift its ban on U.S. beef in the run up to the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, which was held in Washington on April 11. At that meeting China committed to lift its beef ban but did not limit this agreement to boneless beef from cattle under 30 months.

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