China lifts ban on US beef im­ports

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

China on Thurs­day said it was con­di­tion­ally lift­ing its im­port ban on some ship­ments of US beef, end­ing a 13-year em­bargo im­posed af­ter the dis­cov­ery of a case of “mad cow’’ dis­ease in Wash­ing­ton state.

The an­nounce­ment was made in Ot­tawa by Premier Li Ke­qiang, who also said that China was ready to lift re­stric­tions on bone-in Cana­dian beef.

Prior to go­ing to Canada to meet with Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Jus­tine Trudeau, Li said on Tues­day in a speech in New York that China would “soon” al­low im­ports of US bone­less beef and beef on the bone.

The lift­ing of the US ban ap­plies to im­ports of beef from cat­tle un­der 30 months old, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment posted on the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture’s web­site.

The move re­mains sub­ject to com­ple­tion of quar­an­tine re­quire­ments, which will be is­sued later, the min­istry said, with­out pro­vid­ing fur­ther de­tails.

“I wel­come the an­nounce­ment from China’s Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture that it has lifted its ban on US beef fol­low­ing a re­cently con­cluded re­view of the US sup­ply sys­tem,” US Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Tom Vil­sack said in a state­ment on Thurs­day.

Vil­sack said the US is look­ing for­ward to prompt dis­cus­sions with Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties on the con­di­tions to al­low trade to re­sume.

“This is po­ten­tially very sig­nif­i­cant for the US mar­ket. China’s beef im­ports have risen sharply the past four years and it is now the sec­ond-largest beef im­port­ing coun­try. US ac­cess to this mar­ket of­fers con­sid­er­able new mar­ket po­ten­tial for US beef ex­ports,” Der­rell Peel of the depart­ment of agri­cul­tural eco­nom­ics at Ok­la­homa State Univer­sity said.

Brazil has over­taken Aus­tralia as China’s top beef sup­plier.

In the first six months of 2016, China im­ported 295,721 met­ric tons of beef, jump­ing 60.8 per­cent year-on-year. The USDA said that in re­cent years over­all Chi­nese beef im­ports have grown sig­nif­i­cantly, hit­ting a record $2.3 bil­lion in 2015, fu­eled by a grow­ing mid­dle class.

The agency has been in talks with Bei­jing ever since the ban to re­open the mar­ket, said Fred Gale, China spe­cial­ist with the USDA.

“Open­ing the China mar­ket will cre­ate more de­mand for US beef,” Gale said. “That not only gives Chi­nese con­sumers more choices, but also gives US farm­ers and ranch­ers more mar­ket out­lets for their prod­ucts. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant now be­cause the farm econ­omy is in a pe­riod of gen­er­ally de­pressed prices.”

Open­ing the China mar­ket will cre­ate more de­mand for US beef.” Fred Gale, USDA China spe­cial­ist

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