CONGRESSMAN SALAZAR LEADS EFFORT TO PRESSURE JAPAN TO OPEN BORDERS TO US BEEF
Bi-Partisan Salazar-Rehberg Bill Demands Fair Treatment of US Beef Producers
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman John T. Salazar (CO-3) today led a bipartisan coalition to pressure Japan to re-open its borders to United States beef. As a Member of the House Committee on Agriculture, Salazar has met with the Japanese Ambassador and trade representatives in recent months to pressure Japan to re-open its borders as negotiated. The lack of response has been disheartening and this morning, Salazar introduced "The Trade Accountability Act," legislation to impose tariffs against Japan equal to the amount of American trade loss.
"Trade with Japan is important to the ranchers in our community," said Salazar. "In these hard times, we need to stand up for our communities and do what we can to keep our ranchers on the land. It is high time we reminded Japan of our longstanding friendship and that fair trade is a two way street."
Since Japan closed its borders to U.S. beef in December 2003, the USDA has implemented stronger scientifically sound controls, prompting other Asian nations to renew their trade. In a speech on the House Floor this morning, Salazar emphasized that the United States Department of Agriculture has standards in place to ensure the U.S. can provide the safest food supply in the world.
"The safety of American beef has been proven time and again," said Salazar. "Other foreign markets have reopened their borders to U.S. beef, Japan should have followed immediately. Instead, Japan has added insult to injury and avoided dealing with the issue for two years. It's a shame it has come down to this, but our priority is to make sure our farmers and ranchers are treated fairly."
The U.S. meat industry has lost 10,000 jobs since December 2003, mostly attributable to lost export markets. The economic sanctions would equate to tariffs in the amount of $3.14 billion - the same amount of economic trade loss the U.S. has incurred since the Japanese ban.
Today's legislation was supported Congressmen Dennis Rehberg (MT), Colin Peterson (MN), Mark Udall (CO), Jim Costa (CA), Stephanie Herseth (SD), Ed Case (HI), Mike Ross (AR), Charlie Melancon (LA), Dennis Cardoza (CA), and Daniel Lipinski (IL).