USMEF Takes Part in Constructive Meeting with China’s Ministry of Commerce

This week representatives of several U.S. agricultural sectors doing business in China met with China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) to exchange views on a number of key market access issues. USMEF was represented by Jianwen Liu, director of government affairs and analysis, on a team organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

Issues discussed with MOFCOM included lack of market access for U.S. beef and ractopamine use in meat production. USMEF emphasized that as China’s demand for pork and beef continue to increase, the U.S. industry can help the Chinese government address and achieve its policy goals for food security, food safety and agricultural sustainability, which are increasingly challenged by China’s high livestock production costs, rising labor costs and scarcity of land and water. Yet negotiations for opening the market to U.S. beef have shown little progress since the December meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission of Commerce and Trade (JCCT), and U.S. pork still faces a zero-tolerance policy for ractopamine residues. These are among the factors making this market difficult to serve, even though better access to U.S. products offers advantages for China’s consumers and the Chinese government.

Other trade issues less directly related to U.S. meat were also discussed, including China’s position on GMO technology, tariff rate quotas and trade remedy measures. Liu said that while China certainly has a complex and challenging regulatory environment, the meeting offered a constructive forum for voicing the U.S. industry’s concerns.

“The list of market access challenges for U.S. agriculture seems to be getting longer, and this is certainly frustrating,” she explained. “But the opportunity to speak with a unified voice is important, so the effort made by the American Chamber of Commerce to assemble this team and arrange the meeting with MOFCOM is very much appreciated.”