Murray Applauds Opening of Japanese Market to U.S. Beef

Dec 12 2005

Resumption of U.S. Beef Exports Will Help Washington State Cattle Producers

Senator Says Now U.S. Must Focus on Opening Korea, China, & Other Closed Markets

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, Japan and the United States announced that Japan will reopen its market to its U.S. beef exports, after two years. Senator Murray, who has repeatedly urged the Bush Administration to take a more aggressive stance with Japan on the beef ban, hailed the move as a positive step.

"Japan's ban really hurt our state's producers because it closed one quarter of their market. Today's announcement is great news and long overdue, and now we need to keep working open other markets that still remain closed like Korea and China," Murray said.

Japan closed its market to U.S. beef in December 2003. In letters to President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Senator Murray urged the Bush Administration to make reopening Japan's market the highest priority in the U.S.-Japan trade relationship.

Murray also opposed opening the Canadian border until export markets, including Japan, opened so that Washington state producers were not undercut by Canadian producers.

According to the USDA:

"Under the agreement announced today, the United States is able to export beef from cattle 20 months of age and younger to Japan. More than 94 percent of total U.S. ruminant and ruminant products, with a total export value of $1.7 billion in 2003, are now eligible for export to Japan. In 2003, the United States exported $1.4 billion worth of beef and beef products to Japan. Prior to the December 2003 discovery of the first BSE-infected cow in the United States, the U.S. exported beef and beef products to 119 countries. With the opening of Japan, 70 countries have now established trade to at least selected U.S. beef and beef products."