The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reached an agreement with Chinese officials on final details for a protocol to allow the U.S. to begin beef exports to China for the first time since 2003. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the posting of technical documents related to the beginning of shipments.
In a statement, Sec. Perdue said, “Today is a great day for the United States and in particular for our cattle producers, who will be regaining access to an enormous market with an ever-expanding middle class.
"I have no doubt that as soon as the Chinese people get a taste of American beef they’ll want more of it.”
The deal comes as part of the U.S.-China 100-Day Action plan announced last month by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer also commented, "I welcome China taking this important step to start allowing U.S. beef imports after shutting them out over 13 years ago. The President's firm commitment to fair trade that benefits the United States has made this new U.S. beef export opportunity possible. I encourage China and all countries to base their requirements on international standards and science. 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."
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has posted the requirements for its Export Verification program for U.S. establishments shipping to China, which will enable packers to apply for approval to export to China. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has also updated its online Export Library specifying China’s requirements for certifying U.S. beef being shipped there.
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 U.S. was China’s largest supplier of imported beef, providing 70 percent of their total intake.