July 14, 2003, just-food.com: The Bush
Administration canceled a meeting Friday with agriculture
groups to unveil its plan for implementing additional
mad cow safeguards in preparation of ending the current
U.S. ban on Canadian beef.
President Bush earlier last week assured Canadian Prime
Minister Jean Chretien lifting the ban was a US priority
story). US officials are expected to be ready to
meet early this week to discuss the necessary precautions
that will need to be met before the US can begin easing
the restrictions, reported Reuters.
The private meeting due to take place last Friday was
to have been led by White House agriculture adviser
Chuck Conner, in order to pave the way for a public
announcement this week, industry sources told Reuters.
Another industry source, however, played down the importance
of the meeting, saying it was one of a series of consultations
on the mad cow disease issue.
Meanwhile, Japanese Agriculture Minister Yoshiyuki
Kamei said on Friday that Japan would be concerned if
the US were to ease its ban on Canadian beef imports.
"It is not something that Japan has a say in.
However if that should happen we cannot help but have
strong concerns," Kamei told reporters after a
meeting in Washington with US Trade Representative Robert
Japan is the biggest buyer of US beef and has demanded
stricter safeguards against Canadian beef ending up
in US beef shipments to Japan.
The US ban on imports of Canadian beef was imposed
following the discovery of a single case of mad cow
disease in Alberta on 20 May.