Beef Buzz News
China Lifting US Beef Ban Good News for Cattle Industry, But Deal is Far From Official
Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:58:54 CDT
Historic news for the US beef industry happening this week, with the announcement from Chinese officials that China intends to reopen its market to American imported beef from animals under 30 months of age. Their doors have been shut to the US since 2003 after the 'cow that stole Christmas' - an incident when mad cow disease was found in the US. Thirteen years later though, the nation boasting a growing population of 1.3 billion, says it will lift the ban. China has been a hot topic in recent months. Farm Director Ron Hays spoke with president of the US Meat Export Federation, Phil Seng this past July about China's then situation.
Listen to Phil Seng of USMEF discuss China's decision to lift the ban on US beef with Ron Hays
"The Chinese market is a very vexing market, it has been closed since 2003," Seng said this summer. "We've had to go through all kinds of steps now to even get close to getting that market open. It looks like the major hurdle at this point and time is traceability."
Seng also said during that interview, that the US government is very focused on making progress with China and remarked he has never seen such enthusiasm for getting a job done. A sign Seng took very encouragingly. Obviously, the enthusiasm Seng spoke of would seem to have paid off. However, the deal is far from official.
Before product ever begins to ship, the next step in this process will be for the USDA to begin technical negotiations with China's Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine to approve certificates and protocols for beef exports from the US to China. The devil will be in the details of these negotiations, as the US-China relationship is delicate at best.
In a statement released yesterday, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "This announcement is a critical first step to restore market access for U.S. beef and beef products. We look forward to prompt engagement by the relevant authorities for further technical discussions on the specific conditions that will allow trade to resume." He went on to say that his office and the Obama administration is committed to continuing to "press trading partners to eliminate unfair barriers to trade that hamper American farmers and ranchers."
Seng said in July many more bouts of negotiations would be needed for trade in China to happen, and his tune hasn't changed much since then.
"While this is an important first step in the process of resuming beef exports to China," Seng said, "USMEF understands that China must still negotiate with USDA the conditions that will apply to U.S. beef exports entering this market. USMEF looks forward to learning more details about the remaining steps necessary for the market to officially open and for U.S. suppliers to begin shipping product."
While intentions and promises are all well and good, China's Premier Li Keqiang in his announcement, did not offer a timeframe in which the market would open. There is speculation that trade could commence by the end of the year from some trade groups.
Listen to Phil Seng of USMEF discuss China's decision to lift the ban on US beef with Farm Director Ron Hays on today's Beef Buzz.
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