WASHINGTON – The United States and China have will continue to negotiate US beef exports to China, with the intention of restoring market access by the middle of 2014, the US Department of Agriculture reported. The developments came during the 24th US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), which concluded recently in Beijing.

The deal was part of a tradeoff to open the US to Chinese chicken imports. In August, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said China's poultry processing systems are equivalent to systems in the US, which means China may export processed chicken to the US if the product is fully cooked before export. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack raised lifting bans on Chinese poultry due to avian influenza even though H5N1 has re-emerged in China.

"My discussions with Premier Li Keqiang and other Chinese leaders laid the groundwork for future cooperation related to our shared interests in food security, food safety, and sustainability, as well as the expansion of export opportunities for American farmers and ranchers," Vilsack said.

The JCCT is the highest level bilateral forum for the resolution of trade and investment issues between the United States and China. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and US Trade Representative Michael Froman co-chaired the JCCT with China's Vice Premier Wang Yang.