WASHINGTON – China’s intention to restore imports of beef produced in the United States came as welcome news to the US beef industry.
“This is great news for US beef producers,” Kent Bacus, director of international trade for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), said in a statement. “While these initial reports are positive, we must continue technical negotiations and undergo the process of formally approving export certificates. China is already the world’s second largest buyer of beef and with a growing middle class, the export opportunities for US cattlemen and women are tremendous.”
China’s Ministry of Agriculture and General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said China would begin accepting US beef from animals less than 30 months of age, but did not indicate when imports would resume. Still, the announcement is viewed as an important first step in resuming exports of US beef to China, said Philip Seng, president and CEO of the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
“…USMEF understands that China must still negotiate with USDA the conditions that will apply to US beef exports entering this market,” Seng said in a statement. “USMEF looks forward to learning more details about the remaining steps necessary for the market to officially open and for US suppliers to begin shipping product.”
The announcement also provided industry stakeholders to voice support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which finalized in 2015, but is currently stalled in the US Congress. Barry Carpenter, president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), said “…Science-based free trade has numerous benefits for the US, and reopening the Chinese market as well as TPP deal are great examples of the opportunities in the Pacific region.”
Kent Bacus said China’s announcement further highlights the need for access to trade in the Pacific. “To continue to grow demand for our product, our industry relies on fair trade based on sound science,” he said. “This latest announcement by China is welcome news and further highlights the benefits of trade in the Pacific, opportunities that will only be expanded by passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
China imposed a ban on US beef after the US reported its first confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in 2003.