Chairman Bob Goodlatte released the following statement today after meeting with Japanese Ambassador Kato to discuss U.S. and Japanese relations, specifically issues involving beef trade:
"The Committee took a very unusual step of requesting a meeting with a representative of the Japanese government, Ambassador Kato, to convey directly the frustration of our constituents and our own frustration with Japan's continued obstinacy to reopening its market to U.S. beef imports. Our two countries have enjoyed close diplomatic, strategic and trading relations for decades. In fact, the U.S. has year after year run a significant overall trade deficit with Japan.
It is in this context that the current situation with beef is so troublesome. Last October, our two governments announced that an agreement had been reached that would lead to a resumption of trade. Frankly, we have been baffled and very frustrated that six months later there is still no opening of beef trade of any kind. Many Members of the Committee, including myself, have been disappointed at the narrow range of products that Japan's negotiators have been willing to consider for import, despite extensive scientific analysis that establishes the safety of a much wider ranger of products. But the terms insisted upon by Japan would represent a beginning to a return to more normal trade in beef, and our negotiators have been willing to proceed on that basis. Unfortunately, this flexibility has been met with a continued unwillingness on Japan's part to reopen even limited trade.
We are requesting that Japan take immediate steps to reopen importation of U.S. beef as has been negotiated by our two countries. We urged Ambassador Kato to clearly send that message to Tokyo. It is our hope that the Japanese government will take action before serious harm is done to the important relationship between our nations."
House Agriculture Committee