U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded U.S. Department of Agriculture efforts that will help U.S. beef producers increase exports. USDA today announced the final comprehensive BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) rule that will help ensure other countries aren’t able to place non-tariff trade barriers on U.S. beef.
Chairwoman Stabenow has been part of a bipartisan coalition of Senators urging the Office of Management and Budget and USDA to take action on this issue.
“I applaud USDA’s actions to make sure that America’s beef producers have access to new export markets,” Stabenow said. “This effort is crucial to breaking down other countries’ unfounded trade barriers, and re-opening trade markets that are closed to U.S. beef. American agriculture has long set the gold standard for food production and safety. Today’s actions will ensure U.S. beef producers can operate on a more level playing field and help grow our agriculture economy.”
The final rule, proposed earlier this year in March, will bring BSE import regulations in line with international, science-based animal health standards, which calls for countries to base their trade policies on the actual risk of animals harboring the disease. This will help the U.S. to provide strong protections against BSE, while putting trade negotiators on stronger ground to continue pressing other countries to reopen trade markets that are closed to U.S. beef.
Chairwoman Stabenow pointed to Mexico as a prime example of where non-science based standards have significantly limited U.S. producers’ ability to sell beef, noting that since 2004 Mexico hasn’t allowed the importation of U.S. cattle that are over 30 months of age. Mexico has traditionally been one of the top export markets for U.S. beef, however, due to the 30 month age restriction, it’s estimated U.S. beef producers are losing $100 million annually.
The rule will be published next week and will become effective 90 days after publication. More information can be found on the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services website at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.