USTR support for U.S. beef and pork exporters

by Editor
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk promised the U.S. meat industry to continue to access growing international markets for America’s high-quality meat, both beef and pork.

He said that the USTR has used enforcement and diplomacy to unlock significant foreign markets for the U.S. meat industry, ranchers and farmers.

According to Kirk it is a USTR priority to make certain that U.S. meat products aren’t frozen out of international markets due to myths without scientific justification. Regarding the H1N1 virus scare for pork, the simple truth is that American pork is safe and the world market should remain open to U.S. pork products and live swine.

Even so, more than a dozen countries have imposed trade restrictions on U.S. agricultural products without scientific justification as a result of the outbreak of this virus. As much as $900 million in annual U.S. exports could potentially be affected if the announced bans are maintained.

The same approach that recently helped the United States gain expanded access to the European Union beef market will be applied to other desirable markets such as Russia and Japan.

USTR is particularly working to resolve outstanding issues with Russia, which is applying sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures that are not based on international standards.

This problem has also resulted in the arbitrary delisting of many U.S. facilities that export to Russia over the last year. USTR has raised these concerns with its Russian counterparts and will continue to press for a resolution of these issues.

At the direction of President Obama, Secretary Vilsack and Kirk are continuing to urge their colleagues in these countries to lift these bans. They must allow the import of America’s high-quality and safe meat.