WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab applauded today the recent actions by Colombia and Peru to lift their BSE-related bans on U.S. beef and beef product imports.

"These openings represent progress in our efforts to reopen global markets for U.S. beef," said Johanns. "American producers are proud of our safe, high-quality beef products, and we value the opportunity to deliver our products to consumers in South America and around the world."

Ambassador Schwab said, "We are very pleased to see the Peruvian and Colombian markets reopened to U.S. beef and beef products. We look to other trading partners to similarly make trade decisions in accordance with science-based international standards."

In 2003, the United States exported a combined total of more than $4 million worth of beef and beef products to Colombia and Peru. The reopening of these two markets restores two-thirds of the market access for U.S. beef and beef products in South America.

SOURCE: USDA news release.