Market News & Headlines >> Japan Lifts Remaining Restrictions on U.S. Beef

Japan has agreed to eliminate long-held restrictions on imports of U.S. beef, opening full access to its market after more than 15 years, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement on Friday. 

"The new terms, which take effect immediately, allow U.S. products from all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since 2003," Perdue said. 

The removal of the restrictions should allow increased beef sales to Japan, the leading export customer for U.S. beef. The "expanded access could increase U.S. beef and beef product exports to Japan by up to $200 million annually," according to the USDA. 

Japan banned U.S. beef in December 2003 over concerns about mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) following the detection of a BSE-positive animal in the United States. 

The agreement was worked out alongside the Group of 20 agricultural meeting last week in Japan, where Secretary Perdue met with Japanese government officials and affirmed the importance of science-based trade rules,  USDA said. 

“We are hopeful that Japan’s decision will help lead other markets around the world toward science-based policies,” Perdue said in the statement.