December 29, 2005 


US optimistic of 2006 beef exports to Japan



With the two-year ban on US beef exports to Japan now lifted, US beef exporters are expecting to ship 100,000 tonnes of beef to its one-time biggest customer in Asia.


This would be 37 percent of the 270,000 tonnes exported in 2003, just before Japan halted imports in December that year after mad-cow disease was discovered among US cattle.


Although this figure has been revised up from a previous projection of 10 percent of 2003's export volume, the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is aware of the tough challenges that lie ahead in terms of regaining the confidence of the Japanese public towards US beef.


USMEF chairman Philip Seng said that stringent Japanese import requirements will have to be met, and these included removing bovine organs like the spinal cord and brain.


The USMEF estimates that it will take three years before US beef exports to Japan regain pre-ban volumes. Shipments of US beef to Japan will commence in January.

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