agriculture and trade officials applauded the recent moves by Colombia and Peru to lift BSE-relates bans on the import of U.S. beef and beef products.
"These openings represent progress in our efforts to reopen global markets for U.S. beef," says USDA Secretary Mike Johanns. "American producers are proud of our safe, high-quality beef products, and we value the opportunity to deliver our products to consumers in South America and around the world."
The late 2003 discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the U.S. prompted the two countries' bans on U.S. beef. In 2003, the U.S. exported more than $4 million worth of beef products to Colombia and Peru. With the reopening of these markets, U.S. beef restores two-thirds of its market access in South America.
Some countries have yet to lift their BSE-related bans on U.S. beef, but U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab hopes the two nations' decisions might serve as examples.
"We are very pleased to see the Peruvian and Colombian markets reopened to U.S. beef and beef products. We look to other trading partners to similarly make trade decisions in accordance with science-based international standards," says Schwab.