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Montevideo, May 22nd 2024 - 15:36 UTC

 

 

The rule on Paraguay's fresh beef exports to US held by Congress

Monday, April 8th 2024 - 19:35 UTC
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In remarks before the vote, Senator Tester said President Biden, “butchered” the decision on Paraguayan imports. In remarks before the vote, Senator Tester said President Biden, “butchered” the decision on Paraguayan imports.

The United States Senate last week passed a resolution overturning the US Department of Agriculture rule allowing Paraguayan fresh beef imports. The next step in the process in the House of Representatives where the show of bipartisan consensus is expected to be repeated, reported the US Beef Newsletter.

 Last November, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service finalized a rule allowing fresh beef imports from Paraguay. The new rule with certain conditions, if foot-and-mouth disease has not been diagnosed in the exporting region over the past year; beef must also originate from an area where the disease has not been detected over an imported animal’s lifespan and those animals are subject to inspection before and after death.

While USDA says its risk analysis determined Paraguay beef can be safely imported, many in the US agriculture industry reacted strongly arguing that the USDA’s analysis was based on flawed data. They also believe Paraguay’s inspection processes are not up to U.S. Standards.

Those concerns got the attention of Congressional lawmakers, who initiated a process known as the Congressional Review Act. The process allows them to overturn rules enacted by the president and executive branch agencies with a simple majority vote.

Senators from cattle growing states, Jon Tester, D- Montana, and Mike Rounds, R- South Dakota introduced the Senate legislation and in remarks before the vote, Tester said President Biden, “butchered” the decision on Paraguayan imports.

“By cutting corners to resume beef imports from a country with a recent history of foot and mouth disease, the Biden Administration is jeopardizing our food supply and giving Montana consumers and producers a raw deal,” he said. “We cannot allow beef imports from Paraguay until we have data that shows they are meeting same high animal health standards as American ranchers.”

Groups endorsing the resolution include the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the United States Cattlemen’s Association, R-CALF USA, the Livestock Marketing Association, the National Farmers Union and multiple state-level organizations. As expected, NCBA applauded the Senate’s vote.

“Our animal health standards are second to none, and we must be vigilant in protecting the U.S. cattle herd from harmful foreign animal diseases that could have a devastating impact on U.S. agriculture,” NCBA President Marke Eisele said. “Paraguay’s history of foot-and-mouth disease is a great concern, and anyone who wishes to trade with the United States must demonstrate they can.

If lawmakers from the House of Representatives pass the resolution, it would then go to President Biden for his approval.

Biden could still veto the legislation. However, the Senate’s 70-25 vote indicates they likely have more than the two-thirds majority required to override a veto. In that scenario, the resolution’s fate would again depend on the House, which would need two-thirds of its members to also override the president.

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