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What They’re Saying: Agreement to Further Open Japan’s Market to U.S. Beef

By Roya Stephens, USTR Office of Public and Media Affairs

Members of Congress and beef industry representatives are heralding a new agreement to expand access for U.S. beef and beef products in Japan. Under the new agreement, Japan will allow the import of American cattle less than 30 months of age, up from a previous 20 month limit, among other changes. The new agreement is estimated to result in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional U.S. beef exports to Japan in the coming years, and will boost the American agricultural industry. Ambassador Kirk described the agreement as a significant and historic step in expanding U.S. beef trade with Japan, and a way to grow American exports and jobs at home. Here’s a sampling of what others are saying so far:

“This is a win for ranchers in Montana and across the country and will mean more exports and more jobs here in the U.S... Japan is a huge market for our beef exports, and I’m thrilled it’s finally taken a big step toward accepting sound science and welcoming more of our exports. The simple fact is American beef is among the safest in the world, and the next step is for Japan to drop age-based limits altogether.”

- Sen. Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance

Full Statement Here

“I applaud the administration for working closely with our trade partners in Japan to address barriers on U.S. beef exports and pave the way for creating new agricultural jobs here at home… We produce the world’s safest and highest quality beef and countries like Japan represent significant export opportunities, bolstering the brand of American agriculture around the world. Today’s announcement represents a major and promising step forward.”

- Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

Full Statement Here

“I am pleased our Kansas ranchers have additional access to this critical market. After two years of drought, this is certainly welcome news, especially in the long term, for U.S. beef producers. While this is a big step forward, I encourage Japan to reopen its markets to all U.S. beef products regardless of age or boneless status in order to be consistent with internationally recognized standards.”

- Sen. Pat Roberts, Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

Full Statement Here

“This is great news for cattlemen and women and is a significant milestone in our trading relationship with Japan… Japan is a great market for U.S. beef and we look forward to continuing to meet Japanese consumer demands. This move is an important step forward in paving the way toward greater export opportunities to one of our largest export markets.”

- J.D. Alexander, President of National Cattleman’s Beef Association

Full Statement Here

“This is an extremely positive development that successfully addresses one of the longest standing issues between our two governments... The U.S. beef industry – from farmers and ranchers to exporters – will benefit from increased exports to this premium market. At the same time, the trade and consumers in Japan will see a wider variety of beef products and improved availability of U.S. beef in the retail and food service channels.”

- Philip Seng, President and CEO of U.S. Meat Export Federation

Full Statement Here

“Historically, Japan was the number 1 market for U.S. beef exports at approximately $1.4 billion… Ranchers across the country are relieved to see these restrictions finally lifted, so they can again begin providing Japanese consumers with more of the safe and wholesome beef they want.”

- Joe Parker, Jr., President of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association

Full Statement Here

“This announcement is well-deserved and long overdue…Accolades go to USDA and USTR for paving the way for expanded exports of U.S. beef and beef products to Japan after these many years.”

- Barry Carpenter, CEO of the North American Meat Association

Full Statement Here