China Agrees to Conditional Market Opening
The 17th U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) meeting was held on April 11 in Washington, D.C. One of the topics at hand was the resumption of trade in U.S. beef. The Chinese government agreed conditionally to reopen the Chinese market to U.S. beef, subject to the finalization of a protocol by technical experts. The two sides agreed to quickly conduct such negotiations.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Minister Li Changjiang of China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine to improve bilateral cooperation on animal and plant health, and food safety. Under this MOU the two countries will exchange information on food regulations and standards, inspection and quarantine procedures, and other issues such as pests and disease, harmful residues, and food certification.
AMI Excited about Negotiations with Peru
The American Meat Institute (AMI) is praising the U.S. trade representative in negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the U.S. and Peru.
According to AMI, the FTA signed April 12 by the U.S. and Peru creates important new opportunities for U.S. beef and pork producers. U.S. red meat exports to Peru are restricted by high duties. The FTA will establish immediate tariff reductions on all beef and pork products. Upon implementation of the agreement, which still must be approved by Congress, some products will receive unlimited duty free access. Tariffs on most other items will be phased out within five years.
In addition to the favorable market access provisions within the agreement, significant sanitary and technical issues were also resolved. Peru will recognize the U.S. meat inspection system as equivalent to its own. Beef exports to Peru, for some products, will begin immediately. Other items will be eligible following the outcome of a risk assessment.
NAIS Implementation Plan Online:
Standards for Database Integration Also Available
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has released an implementation plan that outlines timelines and benchmarks for the establishment of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), along with a plan for the initial integration of private and state animal tracking databases with NAIS.
The implementation plan continues to set an aggressive timeline for ensuring full implementation of the NAIS by 2009. It establishes benchmarks for incrementally accomplishing the remaining implementation goals to enable the NAIS to be operational by 2007, and to achieve full producer participation by 2009.
USDA also released the general technical standards for animal tracking databases that will enable integration of private systems with the NAIS. Private database owners are invited to submit applications for system evaluation to USDA and offer feedback as the final technical requirements are established. USDA will then enter into cooperative agreements with owners of databases that meet the standards.
The application for system evaluation and a draft cooperative agreement are available on the USDA NAIS Web site. Additional information regarding the NAIS implementation plan can be found at this site as well.
In Texas, Proposed Premises Regulations on Hold
The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) will not address proposed regulations for premises registration at the upcoming May 4 TAHC meeting in Austin. Bob Hillman, Texas' state veterinarian and TAHC executive director, says the proposed premises registration regulations have been placed on hold, and will not be considered by commissioners until the winter or spring of 2007.
Hillman adds that the TAHC will continue to promote voluntary, free registration of sites (premises) where livestock and fowl are held, handled or managed. As of April 4, more than 10,000 premises were registered in Texas. Premises registration is the foundation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). For more information, visit the TAHC Web site.
Revised Notice for Export Verification Programs
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released Notice 19-06, “Revised Notice for Certifying Beef Products Under Export Verification (EV) Programs.” The Notice provides FSIS personnel with revised instructions for carrying out FSIS’s certification process for meat products exported under EV programs.
New regulations will require personnel to verify that the applicant provides a signed document from the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) confirming that each requirement has been met by the establishment or establishments that produced the product. An AMS confirmation letter is not required for products being exported to Mexico or Canada.
To read the entire notice, visit the USDA FSIS Web site.
National Beef Ambassadors Visit Nation’s Capital
Four of the beef industry’s top youth leaders received a rare opportunity to view the inner workings of the federal government and their effect on the beef industry. Thanks to a donation from an anonymous supporter, National Beef Ambassadors Amanda Nolz of South Dakota, Peter Sharpe of Minnesota, Josh McCubbins of Kentucky and Angelle Johnson of Louisiana were able to participate in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association 2006 Spring Conference on Capitol Hill. The conference was held March 27-31.
Three Kilgore Bull Tests Scheduled
The Kilgore College Bull Evaluation Center in Overton, Texas, will host three bull tests this year:
- Test No. 1: June 17 - Sept. 30, 2006 for bulls born Aug. 1, 2005 - Oct. 31, 2005
- Test No. 2: Sept. 16 - Dec. 30, 2006 for bulls born Nov. 1, 2005 - Jan. 31, 2006
- Test No. 3: Dec. 16 - March 31, 2007 for bulls born Feb. 1, 2006 - April 30, 2006
For more information or to view the entry form, visit the Kilgore College Web site.
BIF Coverage Online
The 2006 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Annual Meeting and Research Symposium kicks off April 18. If you cannot attend, online coverage is available at the BIF Conference Web site. Coverage includes a detailed schedule, past award winners and archived presentations, as well as synopses of presentations at this year’s conference, audios of the sessions and PowerPoint® presentations as they become available.
The conference will be held April 18-21 at the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw, Miss. Among the scheduled activities are an ultrasound symposium and presentations on meeting retail and consumer targets. On Friday, producers can participate in a tour of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at Mississippi State, EE Ranches of Winona, Gaddis Farms of Bolton, and the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson. For more information, visit the Mississippi State University CARES Web site.