Overseas animal health, food safety regs hit U.S. beef exports
An International Trade Commission report released Oct. 7 found that U.S. beef processors and cattle ranchers are losing billions of dollars a year in export opportunities due to inconsistent animal health and food safety regulations applied by overseas markets.
The U.S. federal fact-finding agency’s report, which was requested by the Senate Finance Committee, also provided information on other measures restricting U.S. beef exports, such as tariffs and tariff-rate quotas, and compared them to the effects of animal health and food safety regulations in importing markets.
The ITC found that from 2004 to 2007 animal health and food safety regulations in importing countries reduced U.S. beef exports by $2.5 billion to $3.1 billion per year. Some export sales were offset by increased sales in the U.S. domestic market, but the estimated revenue losses for beef processors exceeded $1.4 billion each year, the ITC report said.
Many countries set restrictions on U.S. beef exports after the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow” disease, in a dairy cow of Canadian origin in the U.S. herd in late December 2003.
The ITC also found that animal health and food safety regulations in Japan and South Korea accounted for most of the export losses over the 2004-2007 period. “Although the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) provides guidelines and standards regarding the safety of beef trade, many importing country regulations are not consistent with these guidelines,” the ITC said.
The report, Global Beef Trade: Effects of Animal Health, Sanitary, Food Safety, and Other Measures on U.S. Beef Exports (Investigation No. 332-488, Publication 4033, September 2008) will be available on the ITC’s Web site at hotdocs.usitc.gov/docs/pubs/332/pub4033.pdf.