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Key Topic – China Beef Access

In September 2016 China’s Ministry of Agriculture and General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine have announced that China’s ban on imports of U.S. beef has been lifted. While this was an important first step in the process of resuming beef exports to China, USMEF understood that China must still negotiate with USDA the conditions that will apply to U.S. beef exports entering this market.

UPDATE: This issue gained further attention following the recent meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. On May 11, the Trump administration announced through the U.S. Department of Commerce that 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. According to the announcement, this process is to be completed as soon as possible and no later than July 16, 2017. USMEF issued the following statement in response to the announcement:.

USMEF welcomes today’s announcement that the United States and China have reached a high-level agreement that will allow U.S. beef to reenter the Chinese market after a prolonged absence of more than 13 years. USMEF and its members greatly appreciate the efforts of the Trump administration and officials at USDA and USTR that made today’s announcement possible..

UPDATE: On June 12, 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.

U.S. Meat Export Federation 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. If you receive an interview request on the China market opening, please contact Joe Schuele at the Denver headquarters (jschuele@usmef.org or 303-226-7309).