Japan Unlikely to Resume U.S. Beef Imports

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la4angus

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Japan Unlikely to Resume U.S. Beef Imports

United Press International, October 08, 2004



TOKYO, Oct 08, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Japan looks unlikely to resume imports of U.S. beef this year in the face of local resistance to lifting the ban and easing testing for mad cow disease.

The Japanese government is considering continuing subsidies for mad cow tests, after several local governments announced they would continue blanket testing despite central government plans to limit them to cattle aged 21 months and older.

The subsidies now amount to almost $27 million per year.

The Cabinet Office's Food Safety Commission will conduct a hearing on the matter next Wednesday.

Japan and the United States agreed last month that U.S. beef imports to Japan would soon be resumed.

But there are still strong voices among legislators in the ruling coalition that oppose the government's apparent compromise on food safety in the face of U.S. government pressure.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.
 

Texan

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I can see the possibility that our beef trade with Japan will never resume! All it would take is a group of protectionist Japanese cattlemen who are willing and eager to use trial lawyers to contest the resumption of trade in the name of human health concerns while their only real concern is protecting their own markets. Nah! Something like that could never happen!
 

Oldtimer

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Its too bad that the USDA has categorically denied Creekstone and the other packers that want to BSE test. They claim they have a Japanese market if allowed to test-- but we will never know because of government intervention...

Is it a protectionist trade barrier or a cultural health safety issue?? We may never know--USDA, in its protection of the Big Multinational Packers, will not let the free market prevail.
 

ollie

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You gentlemen are both knowledgeable and both pose viable arguments. I respect you both . I just wish I knew which one is right.
 

Texan

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Oldtimer":iftjj64t said:
Its too bad that the USDA has categorically denied Creekstone and the other packers that want to BSE test. They claim they have a Japanese market if allowed to test-- but we will never know because of government intervention...
And, then there's the other argument. To me, its good that they deny Creekstone the ability to test for export markets. If USDA allowed that to happen, the next domino to fall would be the radical US consumer groups demanding testing of all domestic product. We would hear their arguments of, "well, we're doing it for the Japanese consumer, aren't our own consumers equally as important?" What would we do then? Waste more money on needless testing just to satisfy those demands? Money that would eventually come out of the pocket of the producer? Or, not do it and let the US consumer question the safety of our product? Again, more money out of our pocket from the decrease in demand.

And what's with the 'government intervention is bad' argument? I thought government intervention is what some of us wanted? Let's see--government intervention with needless testing is bad, government intervention with closing the Canadian border and Mandatory COOL is......good?

Oldtimer":iftjj64t said:
Is it a protectionist trade barrier or a cultural health safety issue?? We may never know--USDA, in its protection of the Big Multinational Packers, will not let the free market prevail.
Seems to me like some of us want to push for free markets when its to our advantage. If its not advantageous, then we don't want them. If we really want the free market to prevail, let's open all of the borders in both directions. That would be free markets from a global perspective. If we don't want that type of free market, let's close all of the borders in both directions and eat all of our product. That would be domestic free markets at work.

I just don't see how we can pick and choose the direction of trade that is most profitable to us as producers and still call it a "free" market. If we want to do that, we should be honest about it and call it what it is. Protectionism!
 

Oldtimer

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Heres the latest on Japan--Texan how long is USDA going to call this a trade barrier before they realize it may be a safety issue amongst the Japanese?........ How long can we afford to give more of their market to Australia ?? We need to start giving consumers what they want rather than telling them what they want..........


From Agweb
Japan on BSE testing. Reports from Japan this morning quote officials as saying that the country will not likely change its requirement that all cattle be tested for BSE until sometime this spring. Even if the change is sought this week, it is expected to take up to 2 months for the plans to finalized. Then after the provisions are set, there will be a period of up to 90 days to allow consumers to become aware of the changes. This means a deal to get U.S. beef into Japan could well run into 2005.
 

Texan

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Oldtimer":ew6b9qqi said:
.....Texan how long is USDA going to call this a trade barrier before they realize it may be a safety issue amongst the Japanese?........ How long can we afford to give more of their market to Australia ?? We need to start giving consumers what they want rather than telling them what they want..........
Oldtimer, I don't know what USDA is gonna do. They sure as Hell can't please everybody. They probably have to wonder if they ever please anybody. Its sure possible that it is a real safety concern for the Japanese. As many home grown BSE cases as they've had, I'm sure they have different concerns than we do. But I happen to think that it is just a trade barrier and that USDA and trade negotiators are doing the right thing. If it was really a safety issue for the Japanese, why would their government even talk about allowing imports without testing?

I just don't think we can take the chance on showing the American consumer a two-faced approach to BSE testing. We don't need to have a double standard. The American consumer shouldn't have to worry about whether or not the beef we sell them is as safe as the beef we export. They consume 90% of our product. I'm more concerned with keeping the American consumer satisfied than buying off the Japanese consumer with unnecessary testing!
 
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