The United States and Japan have agreed on new terms and conditions that eliminate Japan’s longstanding restrictions on U.S. beef exports, paving the way for expanded sales to the United States’ top global beef market.
Japan banned U.S. beef and beef products following the detection of a BSE-positive animal in the United States in December 2003. In December 2005, Japan restored partial access, allowing the importation of beef muscle cuts and offal items from cattle 20 months of age and younger. In February 2013, Japan extended access to include beef and beef products from cattle less than 30 months of age. In April 2017, Japan eliminated its age-based BSE testing on domestic Japanese cattle, paving the way for similar age-based restrictions to be lifted on negligible BSE-risk trading partners.
Last week, on the margins of the G-20 Agriculture Ministerial Meeting in Niigata, Japan, Perdue met with Japanese government officials. The new terms, which take effect immediately, allow U.S. products from all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since 2003.
“This is great news for American ranchers and exporters who now have full access to the Japanese market for their high-quality, safe, wholesome, and delicious U.S. beef,” Perdue said. “We are hopeful that Japan’s decision will help lead other markets around the world toward science-based policies.”
“I welcome the good news of the elimination of non-science-based trade barriers that will improve U.S. beef access into Japan,” said U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. “There is more work to do. Rural America is hurting. I encourage the Administration to wrap up pending trade negotiations in a swift manner so that our farmers and ranchers can have certainty.”
Japan is a top global market for U.S. beef. In 2018, the U.S. exported nearly $13 billion in agricultural exports to Japan, placing it as our third largest destination. USDA estimates this expanded access could increase U.S. beef and beef product exports to Japan by up to $200 million annually.
The agreement is also an important step in normalizing trade with Japan, as Japan further aligns its import requirements with international standards for bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
The new terms and conditions will be posted May 20 to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Export Library and the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Export Verification Program web page.
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