WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte met with members of the Democratic Party of Japan to
discuss beef trade issues between the United States and Japan. The delegation included Kenji Yamaoka, Masahiko Yamada, Taskashi
Shinohar, Mitsunori Okamoto, and Hiroko Wada. Agriculture Counselor Shin Yokoyama also accompanied the delegation.
This meeting comes 11 days after the Japanese suspended imports of U.S. beef products after finding three boxes of veal containing
the backbone of the animal which is permitted in the U.S., but is not permitted in Japan. The Japanese government agreed to resume
importing U.S. beef in early December 2005 after barring imports for over two years.
Chairman Goodlatte called for the Japanese to reopen their market and urged the Members of the delegation to take action quickly.
“Japan enjoys a tremendous trade surplus with the U.S. and I think they are very insensitive to the fact that beef is one of the
U.S.’s largest exports to Japan. The U.S. maintains low tariffs, we base our decisions on sound science and we are the largest
exporter and the largest importer in the world. It is becoming more and more difficult to justify keeping our markets open when our
producers don’t enjoy the same benefits with other countries. Our constituents are losing patience and the Congress is losing
patience. Enough is enough,” said Chairman Goodlatte.
“The U.S. has acknowledged the mistake and has taken the appropriate action to ensure that the company is suspended from the Beef
Export Verification Program. For the Japanese to use this one instance as the basis for saying that they can’t trust our entire
system and shutting down the market again is extremely frustrating. I urged the delegation to move quickly to reopen their market
to U.S. beef and I hope they will take heed. If not, I think they will face a very dramatic response from the U.S. Congress which
is very tired of having to deal with this bureaucratic, protectionist matter that is using alleged public health concerns in Japan
as a pretext for what is clearly protectionism for Japanese beef producers,” said the Chairman.