National Cattlemen's Beef Association(NCBA) President Elect Bob McCan, a cattleman from Victoria, Texas, made the following statement regarding Japan and the Trans-Pacific Partnership: "Cattlemen and women are encouraged by the Obama administration's announcement to include Japan in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) negotiations. Japan is an important ally to the United States and we hope this will strengthen the ties between our two nations. We urge the U.S. government and the government of Japan to continue working together to establish international trade standards based on sound science and market-driven principles. The TPP has the potential to be a new era in global trade where all TPP countries can compete for consumer demand without the hindrance of protectionism." Japan was the second largest export market for U.S. beef in 2012 at $1 billion in sales. On Feb. 1, 2013, Japan implemented new import protocols allowing U.S. beef from cattle harvested under 30 months in age. This was an important step forward to improve market access for U.S. beef into Japan, which previously limited imports to beef from cattle under 21 months in age. Currently, the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam are involved in the TPP negotiations.