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Published:July 4th, 2006 06:28 EST
Official: U.S. Disappointed by China's Beef Import Decision

Official: U.S. Disappointed by China's Beef Import Decision

By Brad Davis

Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said the United States is disappointed " with China`s decision to only partially re-open its markets to U.S. beef products.

The USDA`s statement was issued shortly after China`s June 30 decision to only import boneless beef from cows under 30 months of age.

[The United States] will not be satisfied until a full range of U.S. beef products are once again accepted into the Chinese market, " Johanns said. We have fully described the numerous safeguards of our system ... and delivered an abundance of factual, science-based assurances that U.S. beef is safe. "

China`s decision to resume limited imports loosens a three-year ban on U.S. beef products imposed after the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, was discovered in the United States in 2003.

Japan, the largest market for American beef before mad cow disease was discovered, also imposed a ban on imports, but has promised to re-open it`s market after it conducts it`s own inspections of 35 U.S. beef-processing plants authorized by the government to export to Japan. That agreement was reached during a conference June 20-21, and Japanese inspectors are expected to have their work completed by July 21.

The closure of both the Chinese and Japanese markets over the last three years because of BSE has cost the U.S. beef industry billions of dollars in sales.

SOURCE:  U.S. Dept. of State