Market access in China 'disappoints' USMEF

by Bryan Salvage
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DENVER — Ambassador Isi Siddiqui, chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of US Trade Representative, addressed market access in mainland China during last Friday’s closing general session of the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Board of Directors meeting and voiced his disappointment this potentially lucrative market remains closed to US beef. China’s desire to exclude certain offal products is one stumbling block preventing a trade protocol from being reached, he said, but he also cited issues concerning border protection, traceability and China’s insistence that beef from fed cattle of Mexican origin be excluded.

“We also have issues that deal with border protection measures,” he said. “We also have issues on traceability, which is very important to the Chinese counterparts, as well as their refusal to allow product from Mexican cattle to be sent to China in this protocol. We have USMEF representatives on the ground. They were tremendously helpful. At the end of the day we were able to get feedback from your people on exports and what that means. We will continue to engage China. We have made some progress, I was disappointed we were not able to open that market which has a tremendous potential in terms of export opportunities.”

Russia’s desire to joint the World Trade Organization (WTO) was also addressed by Siddiqui. While the Obama Administration is generally supportive of Russia’s efforts to be part of the WTO, that support hinges on Russia’s adoption of science-based regulations for import of many products, including US pork and beef, he said.

“While the Obama administration is supporting Russia’s efforts to become a member of WTO, the burden is on the country seeking to become a member of the WTO,” he said. “They have to do certain things to make sure they are in compliance before they become members of this rule-based system. They have to show that they are definitely committed to comply with the WTO agreement. They are also committed to make sure that their decisions are based on sound science and there is transparency and predictability.
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