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 (full 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
Japan is the biggest buyer of US beef and has demanded stricter
safeguards against Canadian beef ending up in US beef shipments
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.