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U.S. Senate Committee on Finance : Baucus Calls on Russia to Drop Unscientific Ban on American Beef, Pork Exports

02/11/2013 | 06:54pm US/Eastern

For Immediate Release
February 11, 2013

Contact:

Sean Neary/Meaghan Smith
(202) 224-4515

Baucus Calls on Russia to Drop Unscientific Ban on American Beef, Pork Exports

"I Will Continue to Stand up for American Exporters," says Finance Chairman

Washington, DC - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) called on Russia today to end its unscientific ban on U.S. meat exports, including beef and pork.  Despite the conclusions of international food safety organizations that U.S. beef and pork are safe for consumption, Russia announced in December its intent to institute a ban, which went into effect today. 

"Ranchers in Montana and across the country are directly harmed by Russia's unscientific restrictions on our beef and pork exports," SenatorBaucus said.  "Now that Russia is a member of the WTO, it must play by the rules and base its import standards on sound science.  I will continue to stand up for American exporters and make sure we use every tool in the box to end these unscientific trade restrictions."

The ban that went into effect today blocks meat exports from the U.S. that contain traces of a widely-used ingredient called ractopamine.  CODEX, an organization that sets international standards for food safety, has concluded that ractopamine is safe for human consumption at low levels and established maximum residue limits for ractopamine. The exports blocked by Russia's new ban fully comply with those standards.  Additionally, the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) has declared U.S. beef and pork exports completely safe.

Russia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in August. As part of its accession to the WTO, itlowered tariffs, increased market access and committed to international import standards. In December, legislation passed by Senator Baucus went into effect establishing permanent normal trade relations with Russia, which provides the U.S. with new trade enforcement tools to resolve trade issues with Russia, such as the ban that went into effect today. 

Senator Baucus has a long track record of fighting on behalf of American beef exporters.  He immediately pressed Russia to reconsider limiting U.S. beef exports when it announced the plan last month.  And thanks to the bill he championed normalizing trade relations with Russia, the U.S. now has new tools to resolve that type of trade dispute. 

After Senator Baucus met with and pressed Japan's prime minister and economic and trade leaders to adopt science-based import measures, Japan announced it will accept more U.S. beef exports this year.  Senator Baucus urged European leaders last fall to bring their policies in line with sound science and accept more U.S. agricultural products, including beef.  He worked with the administration to secure a commitment from South Korea to accept more U.S. beef as part of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, which went into effect last March.  He has consistently called on China to end its restrictions on beef exports, including during a trade mission when he met with then-Vice President Xi Jinping.  And the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan and Chile all recently dropped limits on U.S. beef exports after Senator Baucus pushed them to do so.

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