PROTOCOLS MUST BE NEGOTIATED BEFORE CHINA ACCEPTS U.S. BEEF
An ag economist from Mississippi State University said the recent announcement that China will again allow U.S. beef imports holds tremendous promise, but much remains to be done before trade actually occurs. Assistant Professor Josh Maples suggests the next steps will involve negotiating export protocols.
According to Maples, the situation could mirror the process Canadian beef had to follow to re-enter the Chinese market. China closed its borders to both U.S. and Canadian beef in 2003 due to BSE concerns. In June 2010, China announced it would allow imports of Canadian beef in stages. The first stage was boneless frozen beef from cattle under 30 months of age in 2011. Stage two, which began in September 2016, permits imports of bone-in frozen beef from cattle less than 30 months old. Maples said Canadian cattle from which beef is harvested must have a unique identity and a traceable farm of origin. While he said shipment of U.S. beef won’t necessarily have to follow the same process or timetable, it is a good example of the regulatory hurdles that must be negotiated.
China and Hong Kong combined were the largest beef importers in the world last year. While the U.S. already exports beef to Hong Kong, establishing trade with China would provide access to a market Maples describes as having “the greatest growth potential for beef consumption of any country in the world.”
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