The announcement was echoed by Stephen M. Young, consul general for the United States in Hong Kong, who spoke at the opening media event for the multi-U.S. cooperator United Tastes of America chef competition. Young said that U.S. and Hong Kong food safety authorities have been discussing terms of expanded access for U.S. beef for more than a year. Currently, U.S. beef exporters only can ship boneless beef cuts derived from cattle under 30 months of age.
“This is a great opportunity for the U.S. beef industry,” said Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia-Pacific region. “Based on our contacts with the trade in Hong Kong, USMEF expects that upon the market opening, traders will quickly place orders for bone-in cuts such as bone-in short ribs and OP bone-in ribs.”
The expanded access for U.S. beef will put exporters in this country in a more competitive position with Canada, which has achieved full OIE access for all beef products under a three-phase program. Details on the expanded access for U.S. beef products are expected to be announced in the coming days with an anticipated effective date of Feb. 25.
U.S. beef exports to Hong Kong jumped 28 percent in volume and 43 percent in value in 2012 versus the prior year, reaching 65,033 metric tons valued at $339.5 million, making it the No. 7 U.S. beef export market in terms of volume and No. 5 in value.