American Shipper

USDA makes progress with opening China to American agricultural goods

USDA makes progress with opening China to American agricultural goods

The Bush administration worked with the Chinese government this week to begin removing additional trade barriers to exports of American agricultural goods.

   During the July 11 U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meeting in Beijing, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns asked the Chinese government to lift the ban on U.S. beef, and invited China to send a delegation to the United States to view its beef safety programs. China plans to send a technical team to the United States in October.

   China also approved imports of NK603, a U.S. variety of Round-Up Ready corn, bringing the total Chinese biotech approvals to eight varieties of corn, two of cotton, seven of canola, and one of soybean.

   In addition, Johanns and Li Changjiang, minister of China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, reached an agreement on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to improve bilateral cooperation on animal and plant health and food safety.

   “With this MOU, we will establish a vehicle to address the sanitary, phytosanitary and food safety issues that have hindered U.S. agriculture’s access to this important market,” Johanns said in a statement.

   The MOU also provides for the exchanges of information on relevant laws, regulations and standards, inspection and quarantine procedures, methodology and technology, pests and disease, toxic and harmful residues, food certification and establishment registration.

   Last year, U.S. farmers and ranchers sold more than $6 billion in agricultural goods to China, making it the country’s fifth-largest export market.