Office of the United States Trade Representative


Veneman-Zoellick Statement on Beef Trade with Japan

by Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman and U. S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick 

April 1, 2004

"The United States is committed to resolving global trade issues based on science. On March 29, the Administration proposed, via a letter to Japanese Agriculture Minister Yoshiyuki Kamei, a U.S./Japan technical consultation on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the international standard setting body for animal diseases.

"Much has been learned in recent experiences with BSE and scientific consultations are warranted to enable trade in beef and beef products to resume. We have shared with all of our trading partners the results of our extensive investigation into BSE, including our aggressive response to an international panel of experts’ recommendations.

"Japanese Ministry of Agriculture authorities have continued to insist that testing of all animals and removal of specific risk materials are conditions for entry of U.S. beef products in the Japanese market. International experts, as noted in the recent report of the international scientific panel that reviewed the U.S. system, agree there is no scientific basis for 100% testing.

"The most appropriate path at this point is for the scientific experts at the OIE to consult and agree upon measures that are based on science. We have assurances that the OIE would commit to an aggressive timetable to review a commonly accepted definition of BSE and related testing methodologies as well as a common definition of specified risk materials.

"We have submitted our system and measures to scrutiny by international experts and see no reason why Japan should be reluctant to do likewise.

"We are disappointed that the Japanese response to our proposal was conveyed through the press instead of engaging in constructive dialogue about the merits of the proposal. We urge the government of Japan to agree to an OIE consultation and to assure that its measures are consistent with its international commitments as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)."

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