Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bennet – Udall: “Open Japanese Markets to Colorado Beef”

Tuesday, Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall urged the White House to push Japan to open its markets to imports of Colorado beef as it takes part in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations to expand the presence of U.S. businesses and exports in the Asia-Pacific region.

In a letter to the president, the senators said that Japan's expressed interest in joining the TPP should be an opportunity for the Administration to ensure it puts an end to its prohibitively high tariffs on agricultural goods. Bennet and Udall also called on the White House to push for Japan to ease restrictions on U.S. beef products that currently are inconsistent with international standards, set by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and not based on scientific criteria.

'If Japan asks for inclusion in the TPP negotiations, we encourage you to press Japanese leaders to immediately relax its restrictions on U.S. beef to be fully consistent with OIE guidelines and reopen its market ... [we] express reservations regarding Japan's inclusion in these negotiations until certain conditions are met,' the senators said in the letter. 'American farmers and ranchers produce the highest quality agricultural products in the world. When given the opportunity to compete on a level playing field, they will thrive, creating more jobs and revenue at home while providing foreign customers affordable access to our products across the world.'

The state's cattle industry represents an important sector of Colorado's agricultural economy and supports a significant number of jobs. Colorado is home to more than 13,000 beef producers.

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