U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schieffer on Sunday welcomed the “very positive” response from consumers to the resumption of U.S. beef exports since last month.

“It just indicates that there’s a market for American beef here,” he said after attending a packed brunch buffet featuring American beef dishes with his wife Susanne at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

As to Japan’s limitation of imports to meat from cattle 20 months old or younger, Schieffer said, “We’d like to have the world standard applied . . . 30 months.”

For now, the U.S. will try to boost exports to the Japanese market under the current limitations, he said.

“We’ve agreed to do this on the 20-month basis,” Schieffer said, adding the Japanese are comfortable with the age criteria. “We need to concentrate on getting beef back in the market, and we will worry about other stuff later.”

He expressed confidence U.S. beef can regain a bigger market share. “I think we’ve got the safeguard that the people want,” he said.

In a brief speech at the buffet, which served about 50 kg of U.S. beef, Schieffer said, “Hopefully, we’ve got to be able to get the supply increased . . . as the future opens up.”

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