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AMI Guest Op - ed in Rocky Mountain News Calls for Opening of Market to Canadian Beef

Monday, June 14, 2004

"Sometimes groups become so emotionally invested in an issue that their rhetoric becomes overheated and outright inaccurate, and their quest for a narrow victory on one specific issue blinds them to the damage they're inflicting to the greater whole" says AMI President and CEO in a Sunday op-ed in the Rocky Mountain News.

"Such is the case with the battle being waged by a handful of lawmakers and protectionistic interest groups who are fighting to keep Canadian beef from being imported to the U.S.” One such group, R-CALF, argued “that Canadian beef posed an impending risk to U.S. consumers, with a spokesperson recently stating that because Canadian beef products could contain bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease), the result could be ‘fatal, noncurable disease in humans who consume those products.’”

"This "the sky is falling" rhetoric is “not only misleading, but has the potential to undermine confidence in the domestic cattle and beef industry, because the procedures in place to fight BSE in Canada are a mirror image of what's practiced in the U.S. If Canadian beef is unsafe despite these procedures, can U.S. beef be safe?”

“But trade is not a one-sided issue, and the U.S. ban on Canadian imports is costing American cattlemen important export opportunities close to home. Mexico, which imported $731 million in beef last year until trade was largely disrupted by the single case of BSE in the U.S., has held firm that they will not completely reopen their markets to American beef imports until the U.S. relaxes its import restrictions against Canada. It seems that the Mexicans get it: If U.S. beef is safe enough for them to import, then Canadian beef should be safe enough for the U.S. to import. So Mexico is demanding that the U.S. practice what it preaches."

Boyle argues that the solution is “a trade harmonization agreement between the U.S. and our trading partners that recognizes universal standard precautions that countries that wish to trade in beef need to take in order to ensure that trade is not disrupted if future cases of BSE occur. Fair and open trading practices will ensure the prosperity of America's cattlemen, not a fortress mentality built by nontariff trade barriers.”

To view the guest editorial in its entirety, click here: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/opinion/article/0,1299,DRMN_38_2955463,00.html

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