U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded U.S. Department of Agriculture efforts that will help U.S. beef producers increase exports. USDA today published a new comprehensive BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) rule that will ensure other countries aren't able to place non-tariff trade barriers on U.S. beef.
Chairwoman Stabenow urged the Office of Management and Budget last month to take action on this issue.
"Boosting agriculture exports is a critical way to fuel America's economic recovery," Chairwoman Stabenow said. "Today's action will help break down other countries' unfounded trade barriers and ensure American beef producers can operate on a more level playing field."
The proposed rule would bring BSE import regulations in line with international, science-based animal health standards, which calls for countries to base their trade policies on the actual risk of animals harboring the disease. This will help the U.S. to provide strong protections against BSE, while putting trade negotiators on stronger ground to continue pressing other countries to reopen trade markets that are closed to U.S. beef.
Chairwoman Stabenow pointed to Mexico as a prime example of where non-science based standards have significantly limited U.S. producers' ability to sell beef, noting that since 2004 Mexico hasn't allowed the importation of U.S. cattle that are over 30 months of age. Mexico has traditionally been one of the top export markets for U.S. beef, however, due to the 30 month age restriction it's estimated U.S. beef producers are losing $100 million annually.
The proposed rule will now be available for public review and comment. More information can be found on the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services website at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.