WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman Bob Goodlatte today issued the following statement regarding an understanding reached late last night between United States and Japanese officials outlining a final process toward resuming imports of U.S. beef products into Japan.
“While this latest agreement indicates that progress is being made toward the resumption of beef trade with the Japanese government, the market remains closed and U.S. beef is not yet available to Japanese consumers. Our negotiators continue to work diligently toward finalizing an agreement that would give U.S. beef producers access to this once lucrative market, and I applaud their efforts. Our producers work hard to provide U.S. and international consumers with the safest and most affordable food supply in the world. The U.S. works exhaustively to ensure that we have safeguards in place to protect all consumers of U.S. beef and we believe that the Japanese consumer should be given the right to choose instead of their government making the decision for them.
“Unfortunately, this process continues to drag on at the detriment of our producers. By denying U.S. beef products and moving through this process at a snail’s pace, the Japanese government is not only denying their own consumers the freedom of choice, but also unduly denying our producers’ rights to their markets under our previously negotiated trade agreement. I am pleased that this process is moving forward, but I will remain only cautiously optimistic until U.S. beef products appear on the shelves of Japanese markets and shops. As our past has indicated, this is an unnecessarily long road and this is only one step closer to fully reopening the Japanese market to U.S. beef imports. I encourage the Japanese government to move quickly toward the goal of completely reopening its market to U.S. beef.”