Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says it's time the United States shows leadership and gives our international trade negotiators a stronger footing for dealing with beef issues. The main stumbling point is the lack of a comprehensive BSE rule for beef imports. Grassley says that puts our trade negotiators at a disadvantage when negotiating with other countries.
According to Senator Grassley, a number of countries have placed non-science-based restrictions on U.S. beef imports. For example, some countries, such as Mexico, don't allow U.S. beef over 30 months old into their country. Estimates show that beef producers in the United States are losing $100 million every year due to this restriction.
Grassley and Senator Ben Nelson, D-Neb., are leading a bipartisan group of 31 Senators pressing the administration to issue a comprehensive BSE rule.
"By having a comprehensive BSE rule in place, the United States will show leadership on a global scale and give the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of Agriculture a stronger position to press other nations to follow the World Organization for Animal Health's guidelines and adopt science-based BSE policies," Grassley said. "These are important rules that can provide a tremendous boost to our beef producers by ensuring their export markets remain open."
In the senators’ letter to Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zients and Animal Plant Health and Inspection Services Administrator, Dr. Gregory Parham, the senators asked them to issue the BSE comprehensive rule as soon as possible.
The letter was signed by Grassley and Nelson along with senators John Barrasso of Wyoming, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Dick Lugar of Indiana, Jim Moran of Kansas, John Boozman of Arkansas, John Risch of Idaho, Rob Portman of Ohio, Dan Coats of Indiana, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, John Thune of South Dakota, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Udall of Colorado, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Patty Murray of Washington, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, John Cornyn of Texas, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Tom Harkin of Iowa.
To view a copy of the letter, click HERE.