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Japan Viewed as Key to Restoring Global Meat Trade

by 5m Editor
9 January 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1416. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1421

Canada Pork International says all eyes will be on Japan over the next few weeks as global meat markets adjust to the impact of the first US case of mad cow disease.

On Christmas day the world reference lab in Weybridge, England, confirmed preliminary tests which showed a dairy cow slaughtered in Washington State was infected with BSE prompting 30 countries to immediately ban US beef.

Canada Pork International Executive Director Jacques Pomerleau says what's unclear now is how long those bans will remain in effect and key is when and if Japan will reopen its border to the US.

"The Prime Minister of Japan made it very clear that he expects the Americans to have the same kind of control over beef as they have in Japan.

If the Japanese maintain that decision it could take awhile before US beef is back in Japan and it's really the leader.

Japan was by far the best market for US beef exports but there are others as well. You have to keep in mind that 30 countries closed their door to US beef and, based on the Japanese reactions, others might use that as a pretense to keep their market closed to the US.

Really now it's between the US and Japan. It's difficult for the US industry to re-open the Japanese market unless they agree to the Japanese requirements and that has to be negotiated.

Right now it doesn't seem that the Japanese government is willing to yield on this one."

Pomerleau says there is hope that the Canadian Agriculture Minister's trade mission to Japan, Korea and Mexico will shed some light on the situation but he admits the outcome doesn't look hopeful.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor