USDA Secretary issued the following statement Monday in regards to continuing discussion between the U.S. and Japan on Japan's restrictions on U.S. beef.
"The United States and Japan have agreed on two important first steps in our effort to expand U.S. beef trade with Japan. I have approved Japan's request to conduct additional audits of U.S. beef processing plants. I have invited Japan to begin the audits as soon as arrangements can be made. This is part of Japan's verification that our process will provide them with safe beef products. In response, once the verification process is complete, Japan will discontinue its requirement of inspecting 100 percent of the boxes of beef shipped from U.S. plants.
"I have talked with my Japanese counterpart, Minister Matsuoka, in recent days to exchange views on resolving the beef trade issue. I appreciate the open lines of communication between us and I look forward to working through the audits and transitioning to more reasonable inspection standards for U.S. beef in Japan.
"The United States expects Japan, as well as all of our trading partners, to implement import requirements for U.S. beef and beef products as soon as possible that are based on science and consistent with international guidelines, including those of the World Organization for Animal Health."