June 23, 2006
June 23, 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," commented Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.
Japan agreed on Wednesday to resume U.S. beef imports, which had been suspended on Jan. 20, just a month after lifting a two-year-old ban implemented when a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was confirmed in the United States.
Japan will spend about a month inspecting all of the 35 beef processing plants authorized by the U.S. government as eligible suppliers to Japan. According to Johanns, upon completion of the audits, Japan has agreed to expeditiously resume beef trade.
"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," concluded Johanns.