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From: TSS ()
Subject: Japan: U.S. trade report 'inaccurate'
Date: May 11, 2007 at 8:39 am PST

Japan: U.S. trade report 'inaccurate'


Japan said Thursday that current restrictions on U.S. beef imports should be strictly adhered to rather than relaxed, saying a U.S. report on trade barriers was "inaccurate."

Japan was among 63 trading partners mentioned in the 2007 National Trade Estimate report released last month by the U.S. Trade Representative, with Japan receiving the third most extensive coverage with 31 pages reviewing its trade policies.

The Bush administration is required to prepare the report as a way of informing Congress of its priorities in trying to tear down harmful trade barriers.

"Although the two government have carried on constructive dialogue, the Report still contains many inaccurate or unilateral descriptions," Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

After "due consideration," Japan's government submitted its comments to the U.S. government on Wednesday, the statement said.

Japan's restrictions on U.S. beef imports -- impMacro running .....osed due to concerns over mad cow disease -- were among the barriers the USTR cited in its report.

Japan tightly controls U.S. beef imports and allows cuts only from cattle 20 months old or younger, which it deems safe. A number of U.S. exporters have been banned from exporting beef to Japan due to various violations of its import conditions.

Washington, however, has been pressing Japan to open its markets fully to all beef deemed safe under World Organization for Animal Health guidelines.

"Every country is allowed to introduce or maintain more severe sanctions than international standards if there is a scientifically justifiable reason," the Japanese government said in its comments, available on the Foreign Ministry's Web site.

Before the ban on American beef three years ago, Japan had been the top destination for U.S. beef, importing $1.4 billion worth a year.

The Japanese government will seek the "correct understanding" of the U.S. about Japanese positions expressed in the comments through bilateral forums, the ministry said its statement.

Critics say the Bush administration has failed to forcefully pursue unfair trade barriers and they contend this inaction has contributed to America's soaring trade deficits, which last year hit an all-time high of $765.3 billion, the fifth consecutive record. The deficit with China totaled $232.5 billion, the highest ever recorded with a single country.


Associated Press Writer Carl Freire contributed to this report.


On the Net:

U.S. Trade Representative:

DeHaven speaks on beef trade, ag imports
Thursday, May 10, 2007, 4:03 PM

by Peter Shinn

On May 25th, the World Organization for Animal Health, better known by its initials in French as the OIE, is expected to finalize a decision to classify the U.S. as a country at controlled risk for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). That's according to Dr. Ron DeHaven, Administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), who told Brownfield Wednesday the designation really will play a key role in improving acceptance of U.S. beef internationally.

"It puts us in a position of negotiating the full spectrum of beef and beef products that are safely traded from a controlled risk country," DeHaven explained. "So, again, it gets us off of this negotiation on boneless beef from animals under 30 months of age."

Of course, Canada is also likely to get a controlled BSE-risk designation on May 25th from the OIE. DeHaven said that means beef trade between the U.S. and Canada should be normalized to the greatest extent possible. And USDA does have a final rule pending that would essentially allow any Canadian cattle born after March 1999 into the U.S.

That date, March of 1999, is 18 months after Canada first implemented a ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban in August of 1997. But DeHaven according to DeHaven, USDA has taken notice of the five BSE-positive cattle found in Canada that were born since that country's feed ban implementation.

"Animals born after their date of an effective feed ban is leading to a lot of raised eyebrows and concern," DeHaven conceded. "So we are taking a look at that in the context of this rule."

On another front, DeHaven said he doesn’t favor moving ag import inspections back from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to APHIS. Some members of Congress are considering such a move in the wake of melamine-tainted and mislabeled imports of wheat gluten and rice protein from China and unfavorable reports on the performance of DHS on ag import inspections.

But DeHaven pointed out transitioning ag import inspectors from USDA to DHS was a difficult process to begin with. And he said switching them back now might do more harm than good.

"We are concerned that any effort to move the AQI [Agricultural Quarantine Inspection] inspectors back to APHIS would result in a similar transition period where we, in fact, would be more vulnerable," DeHaven said.

Nevertheless, a bill is pending in the U.S. Senate that would transfer ag import inspection responsibilities back to APHIS. The American Farm Bureau Federation this week endorsed the measure.

Related Links:
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

2007/05/11 19:05 KST

S. Korea, U.S. agree to negotiate bone-in beef import issue after OIE assembly
SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States agreed Friday to discuss bone-in beef and other import quarantine issues after a world animal health organization's general assembly slated for late May.

The decision was reached in a two-day-long beef technical consultation meeting in Seoul. No exact date for the meeting has been set, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said.

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) is to convene a meeting of its members in Paris on May 20-25. It is expected to give the United States a mad cow disease "controlled risk" classification that technically allows the country to export beef without limitations.

Washington has called on South Korea to open its market to bone-in cuts of beef such as ribs. It wanted talks to begin before the two countries ended free trade pact negotiations on April 2, but made no headway because South Korea stressed that the matter could not be decided until the OIE announces its new country risk analysis.

Seoul banned American beef in December 2003 after a mad cow case was reported. It had reached an agreement with Washington in January 2006 to reopen its market, but only to boneless beef from cattle under 30 months old.

The first shipment of U.S. beef to clear customs arrived in April. Last year, South Korea sent back three shipments of beef totaling 22.3 tons because bone chips were found. It has since eased this rule and said it will only reject individual packages that have bone fragments.

In addition, U.S. negotiators, led by Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture Charles Lambert, asked how South Korea is conducting its quarantine inspections on incoming boneless beef shipments.

"They asked what criteria was used, including the use of X-ray machines to check for bone fragments," said Kim Chang-seob, the chief veterinary officer at the ministry.

"We provided them with details of how all inspections were conducted and there was an exchange of views on this issue," the official said.

Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 14:57:20 -0600
Reply-To: Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group
Sender: Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr." <[log in to unmask]>


THE OIE has now shown they are nothing more than a National Trading Brokerage for all strains of animal TSE. AS i said before, OIE should hang up there jock strap now, since it appears they will buckle every time a country makes some political hay about trade protocol, commodities and futures.
IF they are not going to be science based, they should do everyone a favor and dissolve there organization. ...



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