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USMEF Arranges Meeting Between Montana Senator, Chinese Retailers

USMEF facilitated a roundtable meeting between U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana) and representatives from China’s imported beef distribution and retail sector during the legislator’s recent visit to Beijing.

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (front row, third from left) discussed U.S. beef and pork trade with Chinese food industry representatives during a meeting in Beijing organized by USMEF

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (front row, third from left) discussed U.S. beef and pork trade with Chinese food industry representatives during a meeting in Beijing organized by USMEF

Daines, who was in China with U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia) for talks with Chinese government officials, shared the U.S. agriculture industry’s eagerness for a trade deal between the U.S. and China. In return, those representing some of the country’s larger retail outlets indicated that demand for high-quality protein such as U.S. pork and beef is growing among consumers.

However, USMEF and the retailers detailed for Daines a list of challenges — beyond the higher tariffs imposed on U.S. products — facing red meat importers and exporters. Longer inspection times and restrictive import requirements were among the obstacles mentioned.

Ming Liang, USMEF marketing director in China, said Daines took notes during the meeting and is hopeful the senator will share these concerns with U.S. and Chinese officials.

Ambassador Branstad’s visit highlights Costco opening

It was noted that Costco recently opened its first location in mainland China. The Shanghai store was so busy that Costco was forced to limit the number of shoppers that could be in the store at one time.

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad visited Costco during its first week in operation and spent time in the meat department, where U.S. beef and pork were on display.

Liang said meat products have been among the most popular items and that beef items have sold out many times since the store’s opening. Top blade and heel muscle were the best-selling U.S. cuts. Liang noted there is a strong presence of competitors’ products at Costco, including Australian beef.

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad picks up a package of U.S. beef during a visit to the Costco store in Shanghai

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad picks up a package of U.S. beef during a visit to the Costco store in Shanghai