STATEMENT BY AGRICULTURE SECRETARY MIKE JOHANNS REGARDING AGREEMENT FOR THE RESUMPTION OF BEEF TRADE WITH JAPAN
June 21, 2006
"Although this agreement is another step toward the resumption of beef trade with Japan, I will not be satisfied until U.S. beef is once again accepted into the Japanese market.
Japanese audit teams will arrive in the U.S. this weekend and conclude their work by July 21. Upon completion of the audits, Japan has agreed to expeditiously resume beef trade.
"Ultimately, it is our goal to complete the Japanese audits with all plants that have met U.S. requirements to export beef to Japan being approved to do so at the same time. I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of Japan recognizing the U.S. food safety inspection system as a single, effective system and acting accordingly in resuming trade.
"When that occurs, my expectation is that minor noncompliance issues will not disrupt our entire trading relationship. Instead, Japan has agreed to notify us of such issues and discuss the appropriate course, such as the rejection of individual shipments, if appropriate.
"Japan has been conducting an exhaustive examination to confirm the safety of U.S. beef and these audits must constitute the final step. We have instituted numerous changes in our system, answered every question posed by Japan, and delivered an abundance of factual, science-based assurances that U.S. beef is safe. It is time for beef trade to resume with Japan."