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Karen Eggert        (301) 734-7280
Andrea McNally  (202) 690-4178

PANAMA ALLOWS FOR IMPORTATION OF U.S. CATTLE IN LINE WITH INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that consistent with international standards, Panama is allowing the importation of U.S. cattle of all ages.

“Panama’s decision demonstrates confidence in the United States’ ability to effectively protect animal health and food safety with science-based safeguards,” said APHIS administrator Cindy Smith.  “We are pleased that Panama and other trading partners are taking steps to align their import requirements with international standards that support full market access for U.S. cattle.”
 
In May 2007, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) formally classified the United States as a controlled risk country for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).  This status confirms that U.S. BSE regulatory controls are effective and that U.S. cattle can be safely traded.

Panama stopped allowing the importation of live U.S. cattle after BSE was detected in an imported Canadian cow in December 2003.  Panama has already reopened its border to the importation of cattle products from the United States.  Before the ban, Panama’s market for live U.S. cattle exports was quickly expanding.  In 2003, Panama’s importation of live U.S. cattle doubled what had been imported in the previous three years combined.
 
APHIS has worked closely with Panama since that time to regain full market access.  APHIS will continue to encourage other countries to take steps to align their requirements with international standards.

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