NCBA Statement on Resumption of Beef Trade with Japan
DENVER - “America’s cattlemen appreciate the work by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and top officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their continued focus on U.S.-Japan trade discussions. But after years of empty promises and continued delays, U.S. beef producers remain skeptical of Japan’s dependability as a trading partner.
“As we proceed with implementing steps toward trade resumption, NCBA will continue to insist on science-based standards. Under this current agreement, there remains no language to provide for the export of beef from animals between 20 and 30 months of age.
“The United States meets or exceeds all guidelines established by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to freely export beef and beef products from cattle aged 30 months and less. Japan’s requirement of beef from cattle aged 20 months and less is an artificial and unscientific barrier to trade.
“While we are hopeful these issues can be worked out over time, we know from experience that Japan has become an unreliable trading partner. Our cattlemen have paid a tremendous price for the continued delays by Japanese officials to resume beef trade based on scientifically-recognized principles.
“Last week NCBA’s Executive Committee voted unanimously to support Congressional legislation calling for retaliatory measures against Japan if trade is not resumed expeditiously.
Our preference is that trade will resume under fair and reliable guidelines, and that these measures will not be necessary. But based on past experience, we cannot be confident this will happen. So NCBA is supporting action today by Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who plan to introduce legislation calling for tariffs on Japanese exports if Japan does not open its borders to U.S. beef.”