(AP) Japan's decision to ease restrictions on U.S. beef imports will provide a boost to the American meat industry, but tight supplies may limit how much exports can grow this year.
Beef producers hope to restore Japanese sales to where they were before the first case of mad cow disease was found in the United States in 2003.
National Cattlemen's Beef Association President J.D. Alexander said Monday the Japanese rules should improve profits for the industry.
If Japan's decision to allow imports of beef from cattle up to 30-months-old leads to higher demand overall, American consumers may pay more for beef.
But the North American Meat Association says the effect on prices is likely to be limited because many popular cuts of meat in Japan, like tongue, aren't popular in America.