WASHINGTON – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association expressed support for a rule addressing international trade standards related to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), which was proposed by the US Department of Agriculture. The rule was published in the Federal Register March 16. The comment period closed May 16.

“This has been a long time coming and we certainly welcome this rule. Quite simply, this proposed rule will show the United States is willing to talk the talk and walk the walk with regard to following international standards developed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE),” said Bob McCan, NCBA vice president. “We cannot demand our trading partners follow OIE standards when we are not here at home.”

NCBA said the BSE rule will show US trading partners that the US is committed to basing trade relationships on internationally-recognized, science-based standards. McCan said USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) should be commended for submitting a rule that allows the US to meet demand with little, if any, market disruption.

“The US beef industry has worked closely with USDA-APHIS for many years to make sure we have the highest quality controls in place to maintain a healthy cattle population” McCan said. “We must have an objective comprehensive rule in place for beef and cattle imports as soon as possible in order for our nation’s trade negotiators to have credibility in opening markets for US beef.”

McCan added that non-tariff trade barriers hinder US beef exports, and the way to eliminate these barriers is by requiring global trading partners to make objective, science-based decisions regarding US beef.