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From: TSS (
Date: October 26, 2004 at 10:02 am PST

Beef to JPN - devil in the details

Beef Deal Needs Work

10/25/04 10:07 Richard Hanson, DTN Special Correspondent

TOKYO (DTN) -- Here's the good news on the high-level U.S.-Japan mad cow
talks last week in Tokyo: Japan (in principle) will lift a ban on U.S.
beef that was put in place last December after the first case of bovine
spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was announced by USDA.

That's the breakthrough announced Saturday as Japanese and U.S.
officials wound up a longer-than-expected three days of talks in Tokyo.
But the devil is still in the details that need sorting out before
American beef once again is served on Japanese plates. There are still
are a few loose ends.

"This is not an agreement," insisted one Japanese official. "It is a
framework." At the earliest, beef industry experts say, American
shipments of beef -- vetted of high-risk tongue, liver and all other
offal -- will be shipped and arrive around March next year.

The U.S. side, in a press release, preferred to call it a "framework
agreement that will permit the resumption of beef trade," which has been
cut off for the past ten months.

"This evaluation will be based in part on an independent review of the
marketing program and the BSE situation conducted by experts from the
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and other organizations," the
release said. A special marketing program will be developed for Japan
under which USDA will certify that exported products meet the terms of
the agreement.

The U.S. and Japan are expected to hold two additional meetings by the
end of the year to work on details.


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