Baucus Urges Hanoi to Lift Restrictions on US Beef

By Beacon Staff

HANOI, Vietnam – Sen. Max Baucus on Wednesday urged Vietnam’s government to lift “unscientific” restrictions on U.S. beef imports and to crackdown on copyright violations.

“Vietnam continues to maintain unscientific restrictions on U.S. beef,” Baucus told students at the Diplomatic Academy in Hanoi. “I will urge Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to lift Vietnam’s beef restrictions when I meet him later today.”

But Baucus, a Democrat from Montana — where beef is a major export — and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, praised Vietnam for allowing imports of beef from cattle under 30 months old.

Vietnam briefly banned American beef in 2003 after mad cow disease was discovered in the U.S, but then allowed shipments of young beef which is believed less susceptible to the disease.

In the first eight months of this year, Vietnam imported some 10,000 tons of beef mostly from United States, Australia, Brazil and Argentina, according to government figures.

Speaking to the two dozen or so future Vietnamese diplomats, Baucus urged the government to do more to crackdown on copyright violations.

“Vietnam’s piracy rate for sound recordings is about 95 percent,” he said “That’s way too high to sustain a future economy based on innovation.”

“There are important steps that Vietnam could take to improve,” Baucus said “Greater enforcement will help.”

Vietnam has one of the world’s highest piracy rates. Pirated CDs and DVDs can be bought on the streets for as little as a $1.

Baucus is on a weeklong visit to the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam to boost economic and trade with these two countries.

Baucus is scheduled to meet with the mayor of Vietnam’s southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday.