Japan resumes US beef imports

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Today, Japan said it's going to let US beef back into the country. A couple years ago, Japan stopped importing American meat because of mad cow disease. Then, it let the beef come in again. Then, Japan imposed another ban. Why is this such a big deal? Here's Marketplace's Dan Grech.


DAN GRECH: Japan was once the most lucrative overseas market for US beef, but since December 2003 that trade has essentially stopped.

Jay Truitt is with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

JAY TRUITT: "It turns out to be close to a billion dollars that's disappeared. And the impact on our marketplace is even bigger than that, maybe $2 or $3 billion on an annual basis"

That bigger impact is because beef that once went to Japan is now flooding the US market, driving down prices here.

But Truitt says one industry's loss is another industry's gain.

TRUITT: "When we really look at it across the consumer profile that we filled in the past, we think the people that benefited the most at the end of the day may be the US pork and poultry industry."

Since the ban, Japanese consumers have been buying more pork and chicken, but they're expected to switch back to beef once exports resume.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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