The Australian government has issued a market access advisory to beef exporters reminding them of China’s requirement that beef and beef products must be free of synthetic hormonal growth promotants (HGPs). Effective May 8, Australia will require meat exports destined for China to be “sourced from animals that do not have hormonal growth promotants or contain residues outside normal physiological levels.” Monthly verification testing requirements are also outlined in the advisory.
China’s ban on HGPs is not new, but it recently became an issue of heightened concern for the Australian industry when Australian officials were advised by their Chinese counterparts that China was conducting port-of-entry testing for HGP residues.
China’s decision to enforce its HGP policy on imports from Australia follows action taken by Russia to suspend all imports of Australian beef (effective April 7) due to findings of trenbolone acetate residues. Australia has recently experienced explosive beef export growth to China, with last year’s volume of 162,930 metric tons (mt) increasing nearly 300 percent over 2012. This year’s exports (through April) total 51,195 mt – up 27 percent from the same period in 2013 – as China has emerged as the third-largest destination for Australian beef, following Japan and the United States.
The Chinese market has been closed to U.S. beef since 2003, and market access negotiations between the U.S. and China are ongoing. Both parties recently cited July 2014 as a target date for reopening the market. USMEF will provide further updates on this issue as more details become available.