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Statement By Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman Regarding Resumption of Beef Trade with Japan
October 23, 2004
"I am extremely pleased that our trade officials in Tokyo today were able to conclude an agreement with Japanese officials that paves the way for a resumption of beef trade."
'Export sales are very important to our cattle and beef industry, amounting to 10% of our total production. Sales to Japan alone exceeded $1.7 billion last year before trade was halted due to our finding one case of BSE in the United States.
"The agreement reached in Tokyo will enable our beef trade to resume under a special marketing program. We then will review that program after six months of operation, with a view toward returning trade to more normal patterns.
"This is a very important milestone in our returning to normal after finding the case of BSE in the United States. We have put significant measures in place to further strengthen our already strong food safety system. And, we have new measures to protect our cattle herd.
"We also are well underway with an enhanced surveillance system to detect any BSE in our cattle herd. As of last Friday, we had tested over 92,000 animals, all being negative.
"I congratulate the officials from both Governments for their extra efforts in reaching this accord. It is extremely important for our livestock producers and the entire beef industry. It should further underpin the strong economic performance we have seen in that industry throughout the year.
"Our trade team, already in Asia, now is moving on to Korea, the number our three beef market for the United states, and other important markets in the region to discuss market openings."