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Thailand ‘Not Likely’ to Stop U.S. Beef Imports, USMEF Says

Thailand is “not likely” to stop imports of U.S. beef at this time, the U.S. Meat Export Federation said, reversing comments the trade group made yesterday following last week’s case of mad cow disease.

“There’s a good chance Thailand will stay open,” Joe Schuele, a spokesman for the Denver-based group, said in a telephone interview. “We don’t think that market will close. It just appears that whatever thoughts they had about closing appear to have subsided at this time.”

While Thailand never had any government-to-government communication with the U.S. about a possible closure, there were some “pretty strong signals” before today that new limits might be imposed, Schuele said. The federation wanted to “err on the side of caution,” which is why it decided to let people know about the possibility of a ban, he said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on April 24 that a dairy cow in California was infected with mad cow disease, Thailand bought less than 0.1 percent of total U.S. beef exports in 2011. Thailand already limits U.S. imports to boneless beef from cattle under 30 months of age, Schuele said.

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