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Japan to partially lift ban on fresh Argentine beef imports

The Yomiuri Shimbun The government plans to partially lift a ban on fresh Argentine beef imports as early as this year, it has been learned. The move is based on the grounds that its safety can be ensured following extra measures in Argentina against foot-and-mouth disease, which was prevalent in South America in the 2000s.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Ken Saito is scheduled to deliver the plan to his Argentine counterpart in talks in Japan on Monday.  

The move will be the first time ever for the government to allow imports of fresh Argentine beef, even before the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in South America. Currently, Tokyo only allows imports of processed Argentine beef.

In the latest plan, the Japanese government is expected to allow imports of fresh beef from Patagonia in southern Argentina — an area of the country where there have never been cattle with the disease.

Patagonia has been certified by an international organization as a region with extremely low cases of malignant infectious diseases.

The ban is poised to stay in place for other regions of Argentina, but the agriculture ministry will continue looking into the safety of Argentine beef with a view to totally lifting the ban in the future.

Argentina — the world’s sixth-largest beef producer — exports high-quality beef to Europe. With high lean-meat content, the country’s beef has a reputation for being particularly good for such dishes as steaks and barbecues.

About 90 percent of Japan’s beef imports come from the United States and Australia, in terms of value. Speech

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