WASHINGTON – The United States and Hong Kong have struck a deal that will allow US exports of beef to Hong Kong. US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the new terms and conditions have expanded export opportunities for US beef and beef products to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong will allow into its markets the full range of US beef and beef products consistent with access before December 2003. The new terms come into effect June 17. Hong Kong is the fourth largest export market for US beef products with sales of $823 million in 2013, according to USDA.

"Last year, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) granted the United States negligible risk status for BSE, further affirming the safety of US beef and beef products," Vilsack said. "We welcome this move by Hong Kong and will continue our efforts to break down barriers and expand access for high-quality, safe and wholesome US food and agricultural products in Hong Kong and around the world."

Hong Kong banned US beef and beef products in December 2003 after an animal was found to be infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Only deboned beef from all beef cattle and certain bone-in beef from cattle less than 30 months of age could be exported to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong partially reopened its market in December 2005 to allow imports of deboned US beef from cattle aged 30 months or younger produced under a special program for Hong Kong. The country also expanded access to include certain bone-in cuts from cattle less than 30 months of age in February 2013.