After significant advocacy by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and her Senate colleagues, a Japanese government panel this week recommended easing restrictions on American beef imports-progress that could have a significant economic impact for Missouri's ranching industry.
"Japan's beef restrictions have never made much sense-and today's decision is another step toward a resolution that would have a huge impact on ranchers that already have it tough due to this summer's drought," McCaskill said. "I'm going to keep up the pressure on the Administration to make sure this gets done and our ranchers have fair access to international markets."
This week's action follows a letter that McCaskill sent to the Obama Administration urging a change in Japan's beef import policy prior to any future bilateral trade agreements.
Japan was the largest foreign consumer of U.S. beef before 2003, when Japan sharply restricted imports of U.S. beef after a single case of "mad cow' disease in a Washington dairy cow. The Japanese government panel reviewing the import restrictions, which have remained in place, stated that raising the age limit on cattle whose beef can be accepted for importation to 30 months from 20 months "posed little risk and its impact on human health would be negligible." Making this change would open the Japanese market to 95% of what the United States was exporting to Japan prior to 2003.
McCaskill's Fight for Missouri's Farmers and Ranchers
Claire McCaskill has consistently fought to ensure Missouri's farm and ranch families have the resources they need to succeed, and to prevent and overturn unreasonable rules and regulations on producers.
McCaskill helped pass a bipartisan Farm Bill to support agriculture jobs, strengthen resources for family farms and ranches, and reduce the national deficit by more than $23 billion.
McCaskill delivered a victory for rural communities, successfully forcing the U.S. Labor Department to withdraw proposed rules that would affect the ability of young adults to work on family farms and ranches.
McCaskill helped lead a bipartisan group of Senators in successfully demanding an exemption to allow the transportation of all farm supplies from any distribution point to a local farm retailer or to the consumer during planning and harvest seasons.
McCaskill confronted the Environmental Protection Agency in opposition to proposed rules over farm dust, forcing the EPA to abandon any such rules.