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USDA Issues Export Verification Details on Expanded US Beef to Japan

February 8, 2013
By: Jim Wiesemeyer, Pro Farmer Washington Consultant

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

USMEF Chief  confirms new rules are ready and USDA is signing export certificates

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has now issued the guidance to its inspectors relative to the expanded rules for US beef to Japan from animals up to 30 months of age. The agency issued the notice Feb. 7. Link.

Rules now complete. Also Feb. 7, Phil Seng, head of the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) told Reuters in an interview the rules governing shipments of US beef from animals up to 30 months of age are now complete and USDA is signing the export certificates to facilitate shipment. "All the rule making and procedures needed to comply are done and (the) USDA is signing export certificates for the product," Seng told the news service in an interview on the sidelines of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association annual meeting in Florida. "The impact is immediate, it's just a question of how fast it can ramp up."

Details. The FSIS notice, "Certifying Products Under Export Verification and Less Than 30 Months of Age Verification Quality System Assessment (EV/QSA) Programs" for Japan, gives inspectors "guidance on verification activities related to certification of beef and beef products to Japan." USDA initially provided export verification information on Feb. 1 regarding the expanded beef trade terms for Japan. Link.

Seng said he expects a gradual rise in the expanded shipment of US beef to Japan. "There is always this arm wrestling that goes on between the exporter and the Japanese and that's going on right now in a fervent fashion," he said. "Japan still has a relatively high duty on beef imports...but what we found out is that the Japanese are willing to pay more for our product than maybe some of our domestic consumers, so there is still a lot of opportunities in Japan."

The increased trade opportunities for US beef to Japan could be a blessing with Russia poised to halt imports of US beef and pork due to ractopamine. Russia does not allow ractopamine to be present in meat or to be used in production while the US and some other countries do.

Russia has said it will halt shipments of frozen US beef and pork from Feb. 11 forward due to ractopamine, but so far USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service only lists Washington Beef LLC out of Toppenish, Washington, as being prevented from shipping beef to Russia. That prevention took effect Feb. 5. Russia has also said it would halt US turkey imports for the same reason even though the US turkey industry insists the compound is not used in turkey production here.

Perspective: Russia accounts for about $550 million in beef and pork exports from the United States, Seng said.


Comments: The movement on the Japan market has been relatively fast as typically a shift in trade terms often takes time to become effective. Seng’s comments are indeed backed up by FSIS’s issuance of the guidance on exporting beef from animals up to 30 months of age to Japan. 


 

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


 

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