In a move that could be good news for beef producers in Kentucky and surrounding states, leaders in Japan are reportedly interested in relaxing some restrictions on U.S. beef imports.
Japan banned U.S. beef imports back in 2003, citing fears about mad-cow disease. In 2005 the country allowed imports of beef from cattle twenty months or younger, and now a panel of experts in Japan is recommending that imports of beef from cows up to 30 months should be allowed. The proposed change applies to beef imports from the U.S., France, Canada, and the Netherlands. The Associated Press reports it could be implemented later this year, after a public comment period.
Japan has been a very important customer for U.S. meat products in the past, and meat industry leaders in this country have been anxious to re-open beef markets there. Livestock producers in Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee have contributed to market promotion activities in that country for many years.