Geneva – U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and U.S. Secretary of
Agriculture Mike Johanns welcomed Thailand’s decision to lift its ban on most
imports of U.S. beef.
"We are pleased that Thailand has decided to reopen its market to U.S. beef,"
said Ambassador Portman. "I applaud Thailand’s move, which reflects the spirit
of the close trade relationship we are seeking to enhance through our Free Trade
"I commend Thailand officials for recognizing that U.S. beef is among the
safest in the world and reopening their market to U.S. beef," said Secretary
Johanns. "It is now time for Japan, South Korea, China, and other Asian markets
to follow suit. There is no justifiable reason for borders to be closed to U.S.
The United States has been working with Thailand and other countries around
the world to remove the remaining restrictions on imports of U.S. beef. Upon
review, Thailand determined that U.S. control measures assure the safety of U.S.
Thailand has prohibited imports of U.S. beef since December 2003, following
the detection of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in a single cow of
Canadian origin in Washington State. Thailand represents a growing market for
U.S. beef once trade resumes and upon the completion and implementation of a
bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA). U.S. agricultural exports to Thailand
increased 67 percent since 1999, from $409 million to a record $685 million in
2004, making it the 17th largest market for U.S. farmers and ranchers.
In 2003, President Bush announced his intent to enter into FTA negotiations
with Thailand in accordance with the legislative procedures specified by
Congress. The United States and Thailand have held five rounds of FTA
negotiations, and will meet again in November.###