Iowa cattle producers say the new trade agreement reached with Japan over the weekend is “very significant” to Iowa and the nation. Joel Brinkmeyer, executive vice president of the Iowa Cattlemens Association, says Japan has agreed to start importing a limited quantity of U.S. beef for the first time since the Mad Cow scare in December of last year. Brinkmeyer says Japan has typically imported the high-quality beef products as that nation Westernizes and “Iowa raises the kind of cattle that Japan likes and a lotta’ cattle come from this area.” Brinkmeyer says the new trade agreement is a huge financial windfall for the cattle industry. In 2003, Japan imported some one-point-four billion dollars in U.S. beef products. Brinkmeyer had no Iowa-specific numbers for beef trade with Japan. The new trade agreement allows Japan to export some of its beef to the U.S., which Brinkmeyer says isn’t ideal for our producers in Iowa, but he understands why that’s happening. He says free trade means free trade and products have to flow both ways with similar rules and regulations. While Mexico has reopened its borders to some imports of U-S beef, Brinkmeyer says few other nations have followed suit as they were waiting to see what Japan would do. Now, he expects many other countries to again start importing U-S- and Iowa-grown beef.
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