US to Export Beef to China Under New Protocol
The United States government announced yesterday steps toward commercial shipment of US beef and beef products to China for the first time since 2003.
The shipments result from the US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue co-chaired by US Commerce Secretary Ross and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for the US and Vice Premier Wang Yang for China. The commitment to open China’s market to US beef was part of the US-China 100-Day Action plan announced on May 11, 2017.
To bring that agreement to fruition, the US Department of Agriculture reached agreement with Chinese officials on the final details of a protocol to allow the US to begin the beef exports to China.
US cattle producers will be regaining access to an enormous market with an expanding middle class, noted Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “I commend the hard work of Secretary Ross, Secretary Mnuchin, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and our USDA representatives,” he added. “Without their dedication and persistence, this would have not been possible. I have no doubt that as soon as the Chinese people get a taste of American beef they’ll want more of it.”
“President Trump is doing more to improve the US-China relationship than any president in decades,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, “and this final beef protocol agreement represents even more concrete progress. As we clear away long-standing issues like this one, focusing on near-term, verifiable deliverables, we are building a sound foundation for further discussions.”
China has emerged as a major beef buyer in recent years, with imports increasing from $275 million in 2012 to $2.5 billion in 2016. However, the United States has been banned from China’s market since 2003. The United States is the world’s largest beef producer and was the world’s fourth-largest exporter, with global sales of more than $5.4 billion in 2016. Until the ban took effect, the US was China’s largest supplier of imported beef, providing 70 percent of their total intake.
“The reopening of China’s market to American beef is an example of the results-oriented approach this administration has taken in our engagement with China,” said Mnuchin. “We will continue to work toward a more fair and balanced economic relationship with China by expanding opportunities for US workers and businesses.”
“America’s ranchers are the best producers of beef in the global economy, and they can compete and succeed wherever there is a level playing field,” said US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “I encourage China and all countries to base their requirements on international standards and science.”
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has posted the requirements for its Export Verification program for US establishments shipping to China, which will enable packers to apply for approval to export to China. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has also updated its online Export Library specifying China’s requirements for certifying US beef being shipped there.