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China Addresses US Concern on Beef Export
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A Chinese spokesman said on Thursday that China knows US concern on beef export and hopes experts from the two sides can find a solution as soon as possible.


China noticed that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has given the US a new "controlled risk" status for mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao in a press briefing.


"We always respect the decisions made by the OIE, but China has its own national conditions," said the diplomat. "We believe that the mad cow issue is very sensitive and expect the experts from the two sides can discuss the issue and find a solution as soon as possible."


He also said this second meeting of US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, which was concluded on Wednesday, has strengthened mutual understanding and trust between the two countries.


The OIE, a Paris-based standards body, adopted a resolution on Wednesday recommending that the US, Canada, Switzerland, Chile and Brazil be recognized as having "controlled" risk status for mad cow disease.


Shortly after the OIE ruling, US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns urged US trading partners to reopen export markets to the full spectrum of US cattle and beef products.


Found in dozens of countries, the fatal brain wasting disease is spread by prions -- abnormally shaped proteins that originate as regular components of neurological tissues in animals.


Health officials said the disease spreads through components of cattle feed such as meat and bone meal that contain protein from BSE-infected animals.


China, along with many other countries, began restricting beef imports from the US after the deadly disease was discovered in the country in December 2003.


(Xinhua News Agency May 25, 2007)

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