USMEF Statement on Full Access for U.S. Beef in Japan
Today U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that Japan has agreed to eliminate longstanding restrictions on U.S. beef exports, including the 30-month cattle age limit. Details are in this USDA news release.
U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:
USMEF appreciates the efforts of USDA and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to secure removal of the 30-month cattle age limit for beef exports to Japan, which is a major step toward putting BSE in the rear view mirror when it comes to global beef trade. While most of the U.S. beef shipped to Japan will continue to be from fed cattle under 30 months of age, the opportunities for over-30-month beef cuts and beef variety meat are significant. Japanese buyers from the pre-BSE era are very familiar with these opportunities, and USMEF has been educating many others who entered the industry over the past 15 to 20 years.
USMEF estimates that removal of the cattle age restriction will increase exports to Japan 7 to 10 percent, or by $150 million to $200 million per year. Beef muscle cuts from over-30-month cattle that are most likely to achieve success with Japanese buyers include short plate, chuckeye rolls, short ribs, middle meats, clods and briskets. Beef variety meat items most likely to be in demand include outside skirts, hanging tenders, mountain chain tripe, tongues, abomasum and intestines. The ability to use beef from over-30-month cattle will also lower costs for companies exporting processed beef products to Japan. But for the U.S. industry to fully capitalize on this growth opportunity, U.S. beef needs to be on a level playing field in Japan. So USMEF is also anxious to see progress in the U.S.-Japan trade negotiations.