US seeks quick resolution to Canadian beef ban

July 8, 2003, US President George W. Bush has promised Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien the US is in full support of a quick resolution to its self-imposed ban on Canadian beef.

It is reported Bush gave his commitment to a sift solution after Chretien call the President to discuss the ban that has been in place since May when a singe case of mad cow disease was discovered.

"President Bush clearly said - and said many times - that it was his wish to find a rapid solution to this and that he's asking his officials to find an early resolution to this problem," Chretien spokeswoman Frederique Tsai was quoted by Reuters as saying.

With many other trading partners also imposing bans on Canadian beef following the discovery of the lone BSE case, the Canadian cattle industry estimates it lost more than C$550m (US$405.2m) in the first month of the ban.

Tsai said Chretien had not raised the subject of a Canadian ban on US beef imports in retaliation.

The US is under pressure from Japan, which wants guarantees that US beef shipments do not include Canadian beef.

Meanwhile, Yoshiaki Watanabe, Japan’s vice minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, had said it would be some time before Japan resumes imports of beef from Canada, reported Xinhua News Agency.

He added that Canada should adopt strict measures, including wider inspections of cattle, similar to those measures taken by Japan to combat its own BSE crisis.