For Immediate Release
July 13, 2016
Reopening of Saudi Arabian Market to U.S. Beef Marks the Successful Culmination of Trade Talks
U.S. Embassy Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Joseph W. Westphal praised a recent agreement by the United States and Saudi Arabia to reopen the Saudi Arabian market to U.S. beef and beef products following a four-year ban. Ambassador Westphal applauded the decision, saying, “Our teams met face to face for extensive discussions with the goal of expanding bilateral trade to benefit both of our nations’ private sectors while meeting our common high standards for consumer safety. Success came from the dedication of both sides to an open dialog that focused on information sharing and understanding. I commend the Saudi Food and Drug Authority and the team from the United States Embassy in Riyadh, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for finding a solution that meets the market’s needs and sets an example for continued trade cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States.”
As a result of the decision announced in Riyadh on June 28, Saudi Arabia will allow imports of beef and beef products from U.S. cattle less than 30 months of age, with access expanded to include products from U.S. cattle under 48 months after a phase-in period.
U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also released a joint statement upon the decision by Saudi Arabia: “This agreement is yet another example of the Obama Administration’s commitment to addressing barriers blocking U.S. exports. Reopening Saudi Arabia’s market will create additional export opportunities for American ranchers. The United States exported over $31 million of U.S. beef and beef products in 2011, prior to the ban. Saudi Arabia consumers will now have the opportunity to enjoy high quality American beef.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is developing a program to certify U.S. beef to Saudi Arabia’s import requirements to address the specific conditions in that market and will publish details as soon as they are available. The AMS Program should be announced in the next few weeks.
Ambassador Westphal concluded, “As Ambassador, I have worked on this agreement since I arrived here over two years ago, and I am delighted to see it finally come to fruition. This is a mutual success for the United States and Saudi Arabia, as it helps to ensure food security and a health agricultural sector for both of our countries.”