Key Topic – China Beef Access

On June 12, 2017, U.S. beef was added to the list of products eligible for export to China. Details are posted in the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Export Library and in the Export Verification Program administered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

Then-USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng issued the following statement:

USMEF is pleased to see these important steps completed that will soon allow U.S. beef shipments to China to resume, ending a suspension that has lasted more than 13 years. We thank our U.S. government officials for their tireless efforts on this issue, and now look forward to exporting U.S. beef to this very important market.

It is important to note that the market-opening agreement includes requirements that will involve a period of adjustment for the U.S. industry. Meeting these requirements will add costs and this will mean that U.S. beef is priced at a premium compared to other suppliers in the market. With that said, China holds exciting potential for the U.S. beef industry and for buyers in the market who have waited a very long time for the return of high-quality U.S. beef.

We advise USMEF members to be upbeat about the market opening, but to be very cautious about making any volume or value projections on beef exports to China. Due to the China’s restrictions on the use of synthetic hormones and beta agonists, as well as its traceability requirements, we expect initial volumes to be fairly small.

UPDATE: USMEF has created this fact sheet to assist you in answering questions about the Chinese beef market and the requirements for exporting beef to China.

UPDATE: From the mid-June 2017 market reopening through the end of 2017, beef exports to China totaled 3,020 metric tons valued at $31 million. While eligible supplies remain limited due to China’s import restrictions, the market holds significant growth potential and is already one of the highest value markets for U.S. beef on a per-pound basis. Through May 2018, exports to China were 3,133 metric tons valued at about $29 million. However, U.S. beef will face a steep challenge in China now that the import duty has increased from 12 percent to 37 percent. The higher rate took effect July 6, 2018.