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Japanese beef market.

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DAFF04/302WT - 28 October 2004

Japanese beef market

Australia will continue to make every effort to maintain its strong standing as an exporter of quality beef to the Japanese market even after the re-entry of the United States into the market, Australian Government Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, said today.

Mr Truss said announcements in the US and Japan on 23 October indicate that significant progress has been made between the two countries on a framework to resume market access for US beef into Japan, as had been anticipated.

“A number of issues remain to be resolved between the US and Japan before the trade recommences and even after these matters are resolved there will still be a range of demanding new requirements imposed on US exports.

“Nonetheless, the exceptionally high market share for Australian beef exports to Japan since last December is likely to come under some pressure,” Mr Truss said.

“The Australian Government and the Australian beef industry continue to work hard to promote Australian beef to the discerning Japanese public and this year’s 39 per cent increase in exports is testament to the quality and market acceptance of Australian beef,” Mr Truss said.

“Cattle prices in Australia have been boosted by the absence of US beef from North Asia since late last year.

“However, beef markets worldwide are currently strong and it is difficult to predict what the price impact of resumed US-Japan beef trade could be,” Mr Truss said.

“Meat and Livestock Australia expect that prices may fall a little but they are expected to remain above long-term trend levels.”

Prior to the US case of BSE on 23 December 2003, US beef accounted for approximately 46 per cent (more than 260,000 tonnes) of Japan’s beef imports.

Australia’s share of Japan’s beef imports, which was 49 per cent in 2003, has lifted to more than 90 per cent since the ban on imported US beef.

“We remain committed to working with other countries to maintain consumer confidence in beef and to foster the development of national and international BSE standards which are proportionate to the known animal and public health risks posed by BSE.

“My Department is keeping a close watch on the situation and will continue to work with industry on these important matters.”

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433

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