FARGO, ND, Aug. 20, 2008—Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today reviewed the success from recent openings of U.S. beef markets into Costa Rica, Belize, Qatar and Ghana recognizing international trade standards for U.S. beef and beef products from cattle of all ages.
"The opening of these diverse markets demonstrates the global appetite for U.S. beef and the understanding and confidence nations place in America’s science-based international standards for safety," said Schafer. "I think it is important to review this pattern of opened markets for their strategic placement in the world marketplace where surrounding nations and world travelers can once again enjoy the quality of American beef."
Officials from the USDA and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative have made a concerted effort to restore markets for U.S. beef and beef products from cattle of all ages, in line with international standards of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). More than 100 countries currently allow the entry of U.S. beef and beef products.
Costa Rica and Belize are both Central American countries with strong tourism sectors. In addition, Costa Rica is an important port and gateway to other Latin American markets. In calendar year 2003, the United States exported more than $2.6 million in beef and beef products to Costa Rica.
Belize, the second smallest and least populated country in Central America, relies on foreign imports from countries such as the United States, Belize’s number one trading partner.
Qatar, bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, has one of the highest per capita income levels in the world and blossoming hotel and tourism industries. Exports of U.S. beef and beef products to Qatar topped $1.2 million in 2003, and strong growth is expected.
The West African nation of Ghana has become an important trading partner in Africa due, in large part, to a stable and vibrant democracy, and economic reform. The Ghanaian market is a relatively new one for U.S. beef.
Release No. 0215.08
FAS PR 0134-08
Matthew Herrick (202) 720-3101
Keith Williams (202) 720-4623