American Shipper

U.S. says more work to be done as China lifts beef import ban

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative acknowledged that China’s Ministry of Agriculture has lifted a ban on U.S. beef imports, but said it’s only a “critical first step” to restoring market access to American meat shippers.

   The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) acknowledged that China’s Ministry of Agriculture has lifted its ban on U.S. beef imports, but said it’s only a “critical first step” to restoring market access to American meat shippers.
   USTR, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), will review China’s final audit report on beef, as well as hold discussions with their China counterparts to address specific conditions that will allow trade to resume. “True access to China’s beef market – consistent with science-based, international standards for trade – remains a top priority for the United States,” USTR said in a statement Thursday.
   Many countries, including China, closed their borders to U.S. beef in December 2003 after the USDA confirmed a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or “mad cow” disease. Since then, USTR and USDA have led an all-out effort to restore foreign market access for U.S. beef.
   In fiscal year 2003, U.S. beef exports totaled $3 billion, or 900,000 tons, to 112 countries. As a result of the December 2003 BSE case, U.S. beef exports fell to $1.1 billion, or 300,000 tons in fiscal year 2004.
   “In spite of some remaining restrictions, U.S. beef exports have recovered to pre-2003 levels,” USTR said. In fiscal year 2015, U.S. beef exports totaled $5.8 billion, or 800,000 tons, to 112 countries.
   Since January 2015, the United States has regained market access for U.S. beef in 16 countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guatemala, Iraq, Lebanon, Macau, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Saint Lucia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the Ukraine and Vietnam.
   China offers one of the biggest overseas markets to U.S. beef producers, with its 1.3 billion consumers.