MT ranchers rejoice after Japan eases trade restrictions
On Monday, Japan announced they will ease restrictions on their cattle trade with the U.S.
This brings the trade relationship back to how it was in 2003 before a cow in Washington was discovered to have mad cow disease. Japan is extending the age of cattle they import from the United States from 20 months to 30 months old.
Japan was Montana's largest beef export market in Asia before they halted cattle imports from the U.S. in 2003. Japan initiated trade again with the United States in 2006, but with restrictions.
Executive Vice President of the Montana Stock Growers Association, Errol Rice, says the 10 month age difference is going to positively affect the national beef market and the market here in Montana.
Rice says, "We expect that in 2012 our market for U.S. beef is going to grow roughly 45% which is going to equate to roughly a one and a half billion dollar increase in export sales for our product."
Rice says that it has taken a decade, but Japan is becoming the United States top market for beef once again.
Story by Kelley Smith, Beartooth NBC.
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