Statement by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns Regarding Japanese Expert Panel Meeting - February 8, 2005
"I am pleased that Japanese technical experts met today and accepted the U.S. grading system as an appropriate means to determine the age of cattle. This action now resolves the outstanding technical issues on resuming our trade in beef.
"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 in 2003 before trade was halted due to our finding one case of BSE in the United States.
"Today's determination by the Japanese experts is an important step towards resolving this issue between our two countries. We now call upon our Japanese colleagues to expedite the remaining implementation process so that trade may resume."