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BREAKING: China will open to U.S. beef by July

Cattle and Beef Industry News
May 12, 2017
by WLJ

Details unclear at this point; opportunity to industry looks promising

U.S.-China flags

Late Thursday night, the Department of Commerce released a 100-day action plan regarding trade with China. Beef was on the top of the list of items addressed.

“Following one more round of technical consultations between the United States and China, China is to allow imports of U.S. beef on conditions consistent with international food safety and animal health standards and consistent with the 1999 Agricultural Cooperation Agreement, beginning as soon as possible but no later than July 16, 2017,” read the Department of Commerce’s Initial Actions of the U.S.-China Economic Cooperation 100-Day Plan” list.

During a press conference held Friday morning, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Craig Uden, repeatedly pointed out the potential of the Chinese market.

“Being locked out of the world’s largest market for 13 years, we welcome this announcement,” he said. “The Chinese market means access to 1.4 billion new customers of U.S. beef. Right now, with a growing middle class that’s larger than the entire United States’ population, these middle class consumers are buying record amounts of protein. China is becoming one of the greatest importers of beef in the world.”

Uden noted that trade accounts for roughly $300 per head on fed cattle, with Asian destinations such as Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Vietnam growing in their importance to U.S. beef exports.

During the press conference, questions were raised regarding the likely volumes of beef that might go to China, what cuts, and especially what sorts of requirements U.S. beef producers will have to abide by to export to China. Uden and NCBA Director of International Trade, Kent Bacus generally said specifics are not certain yet, but the opportunity for U.S. beef industry remains high.

WLJ will keep you posted on this unfolding story. Read more in-depth coverage in May 22 print edition. — WLJ

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