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Japanese Ambassador: Only Panel Can Reopen Beef Market

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HAY MAKER

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Issue date: Tuesday, March 15, 2005


AGRICULTURE
Japanese Ambassador: Only Panel Can Reopen Beef Market
Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato told Senate Finance Chairman Grassley and ranking member Max Baucus, D-Mont., Monday that the Japanese decision on reopening its border to U.S. beef imports is now in the hands of a food safety commission not controlled by the government.
Kato met with Grassley, Baucus and other senators just as Congress and the Bush administration appear to be under increasing pressure to convince Japan to reopen the border. Japan closed its border to U.S. beef after a Canadian-born cow tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in December 2003.
Kato said he told the senators that Japan and the United States "essentially" have an agreement for re-opening the beef trade, but that "by law, in Japan that agreement has to be presented to the Food Safety Commission, which is independent of the government."
Grassley said he had told Kato "there are interests in the United States that think there should be retaliation," but both Grassley and Baucus said they told Kato they personally oppose retaliation.
Secretary of State Rice is also expected to raise the issue in her meetings in Japan later this week. Last week, President Bush said he raised the issue during a telephone call with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Speaking to reporters Monday, Koizumi said, "I cannot say when imports will be resumed, but we want to accelerate efforts not to hurt the trusting relationship between the United States and Japan."
Meanwhile, National Cattlemen's Beef Association lobbyist Jay Truitt said in an interview Monday that his group is increasing pressure on Congress and the administration over the issue. Truitt denied reports that the NCBA is threatening to end its support for CAFTA unless the Japan market is reopened.
But Truitt added, "Japan is our No. 1 priority right now. I think we have a little bit of time on CAFTA. I don't have time on Japan." Truitt said the U.S. beef industry has lost $3.1 billion to $3.4 billion in exports since December 2003.
"There is a sentiment that trade doesn't work for U.S. agriculture. What fuels that sentiment is [situations] like this one," Truitt added. "We are going to hold people's feet to the fire. We get our feet held to the fire. If you can't show how Congress responds, then it's hard to defend [trade]." By Jerry Hagstrom
 

don

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this is kind of like you have to get past the us courts to get the us govt. rules into effect.
 

Mike

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don said:
this is kind of like you have to get past the us courts to get the us govt. rules into effect.

Our checks and balances seem to have worked pretty good for the last 225 years. Most every law gets tested by the court for constitutionality.

The Japanese Food Safety Commission is independent of the guvment to assure the public that politics don't get involved with public health and food safety. Their death rate for foodborne illness is miniscule compared to the U.S. They represent the consumer and have become leery of the US for our refusal to test and want to know what we are hiding, therefore increasing pressure for testing.

This situation is leaving the door wide open for Canada. If they don't take advantage they are fools.
 

Sandhusker

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Mike has a good point regarding checks and balances. Japan's Food Safety Commission plays somewhat the same role as Judge Cebull is playing - making sure the government "railroad" isn't working!
 

rkaiser

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:roll: If only it were that simple Mike. Producers in Canada have been telling the industry leadership and government of Canada to play the Trump card for over a year now. All falling on deaf ears. Ears led by the fact that the mutinational packers of North America see no use in BSE testing. And by use, I mean no money, and possibly even a cost.

Tell me how us Canadian fools can convince our Governement to listen to us rather than the multinational packes, and a few deep pocketed producers who will see their way through this mess with non agricultural money?
 

Mike

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rkaiser said:
:roll: If only it were that simple Mike. Producers in Canada have been telling the industry leadership and government of Canada to play the Trump card for over a year now. All falling on deaf ears. Ears led by the fact that the mutinational packers of North America see no use in BSE testing. And by use, I mean no money, and possibly even a cost.

Tell me how us Canadian fools can convince our Governement to listen to us rather than the multinational packes, and a few deep pocketed producers who will see their way through this mess with non agricultural money?

I understand your frustration and feel for you. Sincerely wish I could help.
It amazes me how blind politicians can be. I wasn't calling the producers fools, just your politicians.
 

Sandhusker

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rkaiser said:
:roll: If only it were that simple Mike. Producers in Canada have been telling the industry leadership and government of Canada to play the Trump card for over a year now. All falling on deaf ears. Ears led by the fact that the mutinational packers of North America see no use in BSE testing. And by use, I mean no money, and possibly even a cost.

Tell me how us Canadian fools can convince our Governement to listen to us rather than the multinational packes, and a few deep pocketed producers who will see their way through this mess with non agricultural money?

Watch out, Randy. You're in danger of being called a "Packah Bwamaah"
 

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