Conner To Keep Working on Asian Beef Markets

US - Acting U.S. Ag Secretary Chuck Conner addressed the U.S. Meat Export Federation's (USMEF) Global Outlook Forum in Washington D.C. Monday. He touted gains in U.S. beef and pork exports this year and vowed to keep working on restoring normal beef trade between the U.S. and Asian nations.
calendar icon 31 October 2007
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Conner said U.S. pork exports are up 6% so far this year, with beef exports up 17% to around 500,000 tonnes. And he suggested the World Organization for Animal Health's (OIE) designation of the U.S. as a nation at controlled risk for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in May had proven helpful. Still, Conner noted more work needs to be done on re-opening Asian markets to U.S. beef.

"The progress of course - of course - has been slower than we would have like and this has been an issue that is going to require a focused, patient and a persistent effort to resolve at a government-to-government level," said Conner. "I want you to know, ladies and gentlemen, that we remain very, very committed to getting this job done."

But it now appears the OIE designation may not carry much weight with Japan. That's what USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Ellen Terpstra told Dow Jones in an interview Monday. According to Dow Jones, Japanese negotiators have told USDA they're reluctant to lift restrictions on U.S. beef because the OIE didn't designate the U.S. as a country at negligible risk for BSE. Japan currently accepts only boneless U.S. beef from cattle 20 months of age and younger.

Source: Brownfield
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