On January 28 U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Japan and the U.S. have reached an agreement to further open Japan’s market to American beef.
In December of 2003, Japan banned beef products from the U.S. after the discovery of a bovine spongiform encephalopathy- or BSE-positive animal in the United States.
In July of 2006, Japan eased the restriction, allowing the import of some beef from cattle aged 20 months or younger.
Beginning February 1, Japan will now permit the import of beef from cattle less than 30 months of age. Further aspects of the agreement between Japan and the U-S also aim to normalize trade relations by addressing Japan’s B-S-E-restrictions.