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Baucus calls on Japan to drop trade barriers

Baucus calls on Japan to drop trade barriers

   Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus has asked the Japanese government to reduce non-tariff trade barriers to U.S. beef and end preferential treatment for Japan's postal service.

Baucus

   In a letter to Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, the Montana Democrat and ranking Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa last week said Japanese restrictions on most types of U.S. beef products are 'scientifically unfounded' and prevent ranchers from increasing their exports.

   In late 2003, Japan along with many other countries banned U.S. beef imports after a confirmed case of 'mad cow' disease in Washington. Japan still limits imports of U.S. beef from animals aged 20 months or younger. The United States has since restored most of its overseas beef trade.

   U.S. officials argue that Japan should follow policy established by the World Organization for Animal Health Standards, which recognizes that U.S. beef from cattle of all ages is safe.

      'We urge Japan to base its beef trade policies on science and to open its market to all U.S. beef,' the senators wrote.

   They also urged Japan to lift its ban on imports of gelatin made from cattle, which he said also meets international standards. The ban has hurt Montana ranchers and led to job losses in Iowa's gelatin manufacturing sector, they said.

Grassley

   Baucus and Grassley also asked the Japanese government to open Japan Post to competition as it drafts new legislation for the postal service.

   'We have long been concerned about the preferential treatment that Japan Post entities have received in Japan's insurance, banking and express delivery markets and the negative impact of that treatment on Japan Post's private sector competitors. We urge Japan to address these concerns in its legislation so that U.S. and other private sector suppliers receive the equal treatment that Japan's international obligations require,' they wrote.

   FedEx and UPS would be among the primary beneficiaries of a liberalized postal and package delivery market.

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