Last Month, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. and Japan have agreed to eliminate Japan’s longstanding restrictions on American beef exports. The move paves the way for expanded sales to the United States’ top global beef market. The new terms take effect immediately, allowing U.S. products from all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since 2003 when Japan banned U.S. beef and beef products following detection of mad cow disease.
Colin Woodall of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said the announcement was great news as American producers continue to look for ways to bounce back after the U.S. Stepped out of the TPP.
“And we’ve spent a lot of time trying to work to regain access. At first it was only beef for cattle 20 months of age and younger. We were able to expand that to 30 months of age and younger, and all the while we’ve been trying to work to have full no age restrictions access, and finally, we’ve been able to achieve it. So we’re excited about the prospect of seeing this age restriction finally lifted.”
Woodall said he’s encouraged that this could mean a bilateral trade deal between the U.S. and Japan.
“If there was any sort of malice there, we would have never seen the lifting of the age ban. So, the fact that we’ve seen that means they are confident in what we do, as an industry here in the United States, they are confident in the great beef we are sending them, and again, I think that bodes well for our chances of success of getting a deal done when it comes to beef access.”
The USDA estimates the expanded access to Japan could increase U.S. beef and beef product exports to that market by up to $200 million annually.
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