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Kirk welcomes Japan's review of beef ban

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk today praised Japan's decision to review its ban on importation of certain cuts of beef, Reuters reported today.

“I welcome this important step which puts us on a path to address the long-standing issue of beef trade with the United States," Kirk said in a statement after meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba.

Kirk also told Gemba that Japan must be prepared to tackle a number of other trade barriers if it wants to join talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Reuters reported.

The United States and eight other countries are engaged in the TPP negotiations, but Japan, Mexico and Canada have indicated an interest in joining the talks. All nine current TPP countries must agree to allow other countries to join the negotiations.