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AMI Tells Congress Japan "Using Technical Barriers" to Intentionally Prevent Resumption of Trade with U.S.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005
 

“Establishing a uniform set of rules that is consistent with the OIE standards is a necessary step to restore trade in cattle and beef products among North American trading partners, Japan, and the world. Unfortunately, the Government of Japan is using technical barriers in lieu of science to intentionally prevent the resumption of beef trade,” said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle in testimony submitted today to the House Committee on Ways and Means addressing beef trade and future economic relations with Japan.

Boyle reminded the committee that despite clear scientific evidence showing the safety of American beef, the Japanese market remains closed because of technical barriers, at a cost of $100 million a month to U.S. cattlemen. “The economic consequences of Japan and other countries’ aberration from the science and recommendations of the OIE continue to affect AMI member companies, who have been forced to lay off nearly 10,000 workers since the closure of our export markets in 2003. This unjustified, economically harmful ban has stunted the growth of a historically robust and active trading partnership,” Boyle said.

Boyle explained that “establishing a uniform set of rules that is consistent with the OIE standards is a necessary step to restore trade in cattle and beef products among North American trading partners, Japan, and the world.”

Japan was the top export market for U.S. beef prior to the discovery of BSE in the U.S. in December 2003. In 2003, the U.S. exported nearly $1.3 billion in beef and beef variety meats to Japan – nearly 2 percent of beef receipts in the U.S. for 2003. Boyle explained that, to provide perspective, “losing access to Japan is similar to losing access to the markets of Los Angeles and San Diego combined.” And despite actions from nations like Mexico and Egypt and others, Japan, South Korea, and many other important markets remain closed.

Boyle reminded the committee that the U.S. has taken “extraordinary measures” to combat BSE before it was ever detected in the U.S., and that U.S. beef has been, and remains, safe to eat. These measures include an advanced and vigorous BSE surveillance system, a feedban that has been in place to block the transmission of BSE since 1997, and removal of SRMs from all cattle marked for human consumption.

AMI members pack and process 70 percent of the nation's beef, pork, lamb, veal, and turkey products. Most of our members are small, family-owned businesses with a single manufacturing plant.

For a copy of the testimony, click here: http://www.meatinstitute.org/AMIDocuments/Testimony_WM_JPB_Final_.pdf


For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
202-587-4243
dray@meatinstitute.org
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs
202-587-4245
jriley@meatinstitute.org

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