Agreement to resume US-Japan beef trade

Nov. 1, 2004
United States and Japanese officials in Tokyo reached a framework agreement that will permit resumption of beef trade between the two nations after a

United States and Japanese officials in Tokyo reached a framework agreement that will permit resumption of beef trade between the two nations after a 10-month interruption.

Japan is revising domestic regulations to alter its bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease) cattle testing requirements. The United States will initiate rulemaking related to importing Japanese specialty beef.

A special marketing program will be developed for Japan under which United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service will certify that exported products meet terms of the agreement. The United States will be permitted to sell beef and variety meats to Japanese importers from animals below 21 months of age. This program will be evaluated in July 2005 and modified as appropriate. The evaluation will be based partly on an independent review of the program and the BSE situation conducted by the World Organization for Animal Health and other groups.

US Secretary of Agriculture Ann M Veneman said, “This is a very important milestone in our returning to normal after finding the case of BSE in the United States. We have put significant measures in place to further strengthen our already strong food safety system, and we have new measures to protect our cattle herd. We also are well underway with an enhanced surveillance system to detect any BSE in our cattle herd.”

Japan was the largest market for US beef and products with sales in 2003 exceeding $1.7 billion before the ban. Exports account for more than 10% of the total value of US beef output. Sales to Japan were suspended after the Dec 23, 2003, discovery of a case of BSE from a cow in Washington state.

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