China Joins Banning Of US Beef
By Randy Fabi and Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China has joined other nations in suspending U.S. beef imports after the discovery of the first U.S. case of the deadly mad cow disease, authorities said Thursday.
"China will temporarily ban imports of U.S. cattle and cow products. This does not include milk, milk products, leather and gelatin," the Agriculture Ministry and quarantine bureau said in a joint statement in Shanghai.
Total U.S. beef imports to China are estimated to rise by 11 percent to 30,000 tons in 2004, according to U.S. figures. About 10 percent of U.S. beef is exported.
Japan, Mexico and South Korea, the top buyers of U.S. beef, halted imports after the case was disclosed Tuesday in a huge blow for the $27 billion U.S. cattle industry.
Other countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine and South Africa, have followed suit. Canada imposed a partial ban In Tokyo, Japanese stocks inched lower. Analysts placed the blame on disappointing U.S. economic data and the case of mad cow disease.
"Weak economic data, worries about possible terror attacks and mad cow. These are negative factors holding the market back." said Tatsuyuki Kawasaki, director of equities trading at Kaneyama Securities.
Yoshinoya D&C Co and other beef-related shares continued to slide.
Yoshinoya, a beef-bowl restaurant chain operator that gets 99 percent of its beef from the United States, fell 2.6 percent, extending Tuesday's 9.41 percent slide.
The dollar was stuck near record lows versus the euro in Tokyo. It was sitting at $1.24 per euro.
"The euro's jump was largely due to the mad cow scare and the disappointing figures coming out of the U.S., but it also had to do with geopolitical risks as well," said Junya Tanase, global markets officer at JP Morgan Chase.
In Washington state, public health investigators combed a tiny town to pinpoint the cause of the potentially fatal disease after a single 4-year-old Holstein cow tested positive. The animal has been traced to a dairy farm near the town of Mabton.


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