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AMI Statement: Impact of BSE Case on U.S. Beef Exports

Friday, December 26, 2003

(Attribute Statement to AMI Vice President of International Trade John Reddington)

Announcements by some nations that they will cease U.S. beef imports are unfortunate. For more than a decade, most nations had policies in place that required the cessation of trade with any nation that had even a single case of BSE in its cattle herd. Those policies were established and were necessary when BSE was considered an epidemic in Europe. Today, much more is known about the disease and how to contain it, making this policy outdated and not justified by the science.

Just this month, U.S. officials joined counterparts in Paris for a meeting of the International Organization of Epizootics. Discussions were under way at that point about the need to clarify policies and begin to accept cattle and beef imports from nations deemed “minimal risk” under OIE’s classification.

We applaud actions by U.S. officials to meet rapidly with major beef customers like Japan and South Korea to reassure them of the safety of U.S. meat. It is our hope that beef trade between the U.S. and other nations will be restored swiftly.

It is inappropriate for groups that have long opposed imports of cattle and beef from other nations to use this single case of BSE as an opportunity to achieve their goals. Specifically, calls for the U.S. to cease beef imports in response to announcements that other nations will not accept our beef products is counterproductive and disingenuous. It would be difficult for the United States to ask countries to open their markets to us while at the same time closing the U.S. market to them. Trade retaliation in the midst of this BSE situation stands only to jeopardize our long-term goals to reopen markets to our beef products.

For more information contact:
Dan Murphy
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
SVP, Public Affairs

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