Audio: U.S.-China Agreement Expands Opportunities for U.S. Beef

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China reopened to U.S. beef in 2017, but technical restrictions kept the cost of producing and processing China-eligible beef very high and made it difficult for the United States to gain market share. Travis Arp, USMEF senior director of technical services/access, says the U.S.-China “Phase One” trade agreement signed last week will ease or eliminate many of these restrictions and expand opportunities for the U.S. beef industry. He notes that China has committed to following international standards regarding hormone use, modifying its traceability requirements and removing the 30-month cattle age limit.

Arp explains how this will lower the cost of producing U.S. beef for the Chinese market, which is especially important because China still imposes retaliatory duties on U.S. beef. The total tariff rate for U.S. beef cuts is 47% compared to 12% for most other suppliers, 5% for Australian beef and zero for New Zealand beef.

The text of the agreement and industry-specific fact sheets are available from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative website. More details from USMEF are also available online.

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The U.S. Meat Export Federation ( is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations. USMEF complies with all equal opportunity, non-discrimination and affirmative action measures applicable to it by contract, government rule or regulation or as otherwise provided by law. USMEF is an equal opportunity employer and provider.