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Mike Johanns: Japan beef issue should be part of trade talks

Japan should fully open its market to U.S. beef in light of Japan’s interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE). A letter authored by Johanns and signed by 26 of his colleagues, including five Democrats, calls for President Obama to encourage Japanese leaders to immediately relax restrictions on U.S. beef if Japan seeks inclusion in TPP negotiations.

“Japan is an important trading partner to the U.S. and I would strongly support a robust trade agreement that includes both countries, but it has no leg to stand on without fixing the beef issue first,” said Johanns. “Our beef industry has been unfairly targeted and restricted for far too long. Japan’s restrictions are not based in science and irrationally punish one of our most competitive industries. Our farmers and ranchers have always produced the highest quality beef and our internationally renowned food safety system has protected consumers for decades. It’s time for Japan to recognize these efforts and remove their unjustifiable barriers.”

The U.S. is currently in negotiations with eight other countries to join the TPP, a multilateral trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region Recently, Japan expressed interest in joining the talks.



Japan originally closed its borders to all American beef products in 2003 after the discovery of one cow with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and currently only allows imports of U.S. beef from cattle aged 20 months or younger. Prior to that, Japan was the largest market for U.S. beef, with exports valued at $1.4 billion.

Japan should fully open its market to U.S. beef in light of Japan’s interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE). A letter authored by Johanns and signed by 26 of his colleagues, including five Democrats, calls for President Obama to encourage Japanese leaders to immediately relax restrictions on U.S. beef if Japan seeks inclusion in TPP negotiations.



“Japan is an important trading partner to the U.S. and I would strongly support a robust trade agreement that includes both countries, but it has no leg to stand on without fixing the beef issue first,” said Johanns. “Our beef industry has been unfairly targeted and restricted for far too long. Japan’s restrictions are not based in science and irrationally punish one of our most competitive industries. Our farmers and ranchers have always produced the highest quality beef and our internationally renowned food safety system has protected consumers for decades. It’s time for Japan to recognize these efforts and remove their unjustifiable barriers.”

The U.S. is currently in negotiations with eight other countries to join the TPP, a multilateral trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region Recently, Japan expressed interest in joining the talks.

Japan originally closed its borders to all American beef products in 2003 after the discovery of one cow with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and currently only allows imports of U.S. beef from cattle aged 20 months or younger. Prior to that, Japan was the largest market for U.S. beef, with exports valued at $1.4 billion.


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