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Washington, May 27 – Senator Mike
Johanns (R-NE), along with Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) and
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) introduced a Senate
Resolution Thursday urging China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mexico
and Vietnam to follow international guidelines and provide full market access
to all U.S. beef products. The resolution is part of the senators’ longstanding
effort to open foreign markets for American ranchers and farmers.
“The United States
leads the way in following internationally recognized, science-based standards
and treats its trading partners fairly,” said Johanns who was Secretary of
Agriculture during the second Bush administration. “We’ve been beyond patient
in waiting for fair treatment in return. American beef and beef products have
been scientifically proven to be safe for consumption. There is absolutely no
justification for banning U.S.
beef. It is well past time for these countries to live up to their end of our
good-faith trade agreements.”
to the global market for U.S.
goods, including beef and other agricultural commodities, is essential to
increasing American exports and expediting our economic recovery,” Baucus said.
“American beef is world-class and there is absolutely no scientific basis for
any country to restrict it. These unfounded and unscientific barriers are impeding
our economic recovery and hurting hardworking ranchers in Montana
and across the United States.
I strongly urge all countries to follow international guidelines, which have
beef as safe, and open their markets to American ranchers and farmers
beef producers must meet the highest standards of beef production in the world
and they deserve the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. Due in
large part to unfair trade barriers in our export markets, American beef
producers have lost an average of $1.4 billion annually since 2003, despite the
fact that internationally recognized sound science tells us our product is
safe. This resolution calls on those countries, particularly in Asia, to play by the same rules we use. Asia continues to
hold the greatest growth potential in market access for American beef exports,
and it’s time for these non-tariff trade barriers to be brought down,” Lincoln said.
beef exports to the countries named in today’s resolution were valued at more
than $3 billion. But since these counties began restricting U.S. beef, exports declined
sharply, causing significant revenue losses for American cattle producers. Between
2004 and 2009, for example, annual U.S.
beef exports to Japan and South Korea
averaged less than 15 percent of their 2003 levels.
U.S. beef has
been certified safe by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which is
the internationally recognized standard-setting body for animal food products.
Likewise, a 2006 study by the United States Department of Agriculture found
bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the disease in question, to be
virtually nonexistent in the United
China, Japan, South Korea,
Hong Kong, Taiwan,
Mexico and Vietnam continue to restrict U.S. beef, despite that fact that the United States has implemented a rigorous,
multilayered system of safeguards and U.S. beef continues to meet
international safety standards.
Baucus, and Lincoln have been staunch advocates for U.S.
cattle producers in the fight for full access to global markets and Thursday’s
resolution also calls on President Obama to press these countries to open their
markets to U.S.
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