Sec. Vilsack says Miller’s China visit will deal with soybeans, beef & poultry

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, May 26 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack explained Wednesday that in response to concerns raised by China about U.S. soybean quality, USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Jim Miller “talked to his counterpart and there is an agreement to essentially provide better communication, cooperation and better coordination on standards concerning soybeans.”

Vilsack said that to deal with China’s continuing quality concerns “we have made the offer to send a technical team to China to make sure that the standards are right, the grading process is correct, and we think that that will alleviate some of the  concerns that have been expressed.” He added that while he doesn’t believe there have been actual quality problems, “we need to keep communicating. It’s not different than a lot of the other issues that have been raised here recently. We just need to get technical people over there and sit down with their folks and just walk them through the science and how we grade things.”

Vilsack pointed out that along with soybean issues, while the Under Secretary is in China, Miller “will no doubt discuss what additional steps need to be taken on beef.” Vilsack also noted that poultry will be on Miller’s agenda: “We’re obviously trying to continue the dialogue there and try to reassure the Chinese that what we’re asking for as we deal with the congressional directive on poultry, that what we’re asking for is not something new, it’s just an updated amount of information so that we can continue the process of making sure that poultry that comes from China is going to be safe.”

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