Congressman Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO) recently introduced a resolution to support increased market access for exports of U.S. beef and beef products to Japan. Currently, Japan restricts access to a large number of U.S. beef products. H. Res. 1196 states that Japan should immediately expand market access for U.S. beef products, and urges the Obama Administration to insist on increased market access from Japan. U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) has introduced similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.
 
“It is time for Japan to fully open its markets to U.S. beef. For several years now, Japan has used non-scientific standards to restrict access to high quality U.S. beef products,” said Moran. “Japan asks for fair treatment of their products and we’re asking for the same fair treatment - which means an adherence to internationally recognized, science-based trade standards.”
 
“It’s disappointing that a close ally like Japan insists on pursuing this unfair, damaging, and ill-advised trade policy that not only hurts American cattlemen, but also Japanese consumers, who have always spoken clearly with their wallets in favor of American beef,” Blunt said.  “I’m hopeful that this resolution sends a signal that we expect the Japanese government to reverse its unfair restrictions on beef from the United States.”
 
“Japan’s unscientific trade restriction is not consistent with fair-trade practices nor with U.S. treatment of Japanese imports, and it continues to cost the U.S. beef industry—limiting us to about 25 percent of our potential market there, or $1 billion in lost beef exports each year. It’s time for the U.S. to take action and insist that Japan end this ban immediately,” said Steve Fogelsong, President of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association.
 
BACKGROUND
•In 2003, Japan was the largest market for U.S. beef, with exports valued at $1.4 billion.
• Japan closed its borders to all American beef products in December 2003, after the discovery of one Canadian-born cow infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the state of Washington.
• For years, the U.S. government has implemented a multi-layered system of interlocking safeguards to ensure the safety of U.S. beef. Since 2003, the U.S. government has implemented additional safeguards to ensure beef safety.
•In 2006, Japan agreed to limit access of U.S. beef to beef younger than 21 months of age – a restriction that continues to the present day.
•The internationally recognized authority, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), classified the United States as a “controlled risk” country for BSE in 2007, which means that U.S. beef is safe for export and consumption.
•From 2004 to 2009, U.S. beef exports to Japan averaged approximately $196 million, less than fifteen percent of the 2003 level.
•According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Japan’s ban on U.S. beef results in approximately $1 billion in lost exports annually for American producers.

Moran is a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee.