Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus announced today that Chile has fully opened its market to all ages and all cuts of American beef. Today's announcement comes after Baucus brought Chilean Ambassador to the United States, Arturo Fermandois, to Montana last summer on his ambassadors' tour and announced a new partnership to promote Montana beef in Chile. In November, Ambassador Fermandois announced during a dinner with Baucus and Montana ranchers that Chile was beginning the regulatory process to open its market to American beef. Baucus will use today's victory with Chile to urge Korea to come to a solution on beef as part of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
"Today's announcement from Chile is an important victory for Montana ranchers and a prime example of how we win by bringing trade leaders to Montana to see and taste our quality agriculture, and meet with our top-notch small business owners and manufactures. I'll keep doing all I can to help Montana ranchers, farmers and business owners build connections with global trading partners and sell Montana products around the world - because selling Montana products, means supporting Montana jobs and that's what this is all about," Baucus said.
Former President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association Tom Hougen participated in the ambassadors' tour and attended the November dinner at Fermandois' residence in Washington D.C.
"When Senator Baucus brings ambassadors to Montana, it gives us the opportunity to showcase our product with some of our most important customers," Hougen said. "And today's announcement shows that these visits deliver real results. I want to thank Senator Baucus and Ambassador Fermandois for helping to fully open Chile's market to safe and delicious Montana beef."
"When I visited Montana with Senator Baucus last September, I had the opportunity to experience firsthand safe and delicious Montana beef," said Chilean Ambassador Arturo Fermandois. "And I promised him that I would personally look into Chile's import requirements on U.S. beef. I am pleased to report that Chile now provides full market access for U.S. beef, all ages and all cuts."
Baucus has been pressing to secure a commitment from Korea to develop a pathway toward increased market access for American beef. Baucus has said he will not support the Korea Free Trade Agreement without some progress on beef and will use today's victory with Chile to increase pressure on Korea.
"Chile's decision to open its market to all American beef is based on sound science and we should expect no less from all of our trading partners. It's time for other countries, including Korea, to step up and recognize international standards, and I'll keep pushing to make that happen," Baucus said.
In April 2008, Korea agreed to open its market to all ages and cuts of American beef, consistent with international scientific standards. But despite this pledge, Korea continues to exclude imports of American beef from cattle over 30 months.
As chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, with sole jurisdiction over international trade, Baucus has continuously fought to open new markets for Montana ranchers, farmers, manufacturers and small businesses, and has made an aggressive trade agenda a cornerstone of his job-creation agenda.
He recently returned from a trade mission to South America where he brought 15 Montana ranchers, farmers and business owners to meet with potential trading partners in Colombia and Brazil. In May, Baucus is bringing top-level trade meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers to Big Sky to discuss ways to deepen Montana's trade and economic relationships with some of the largest economies in the world. The meetings will bring cabinet-level representatives from 21 countries, along with hundreds of other officials, to Montana to discuss ways to deepen the trade and economic relationships among some of Montana's most important trading partners.
The United States was chosen among APEC's 21 member countries to host this year's summit, and Baucus fought hard to bring the Trade Ministers and Small-and-Medium-Sized Enterprise Ministers meetings to Montana. The Montana meetings are part of a series of APEC events the U.S. is hosting throughout the year in Washington, D.C., Honolulu, San Francisco, and Big Sky.