China announced earlier this week that it is lifting its 13-year ban on U.S. beef exports—for animals under 30 months of age.
“While this is an important first step in the process of resuming beef exports to China, USMEF understands that China must still negotiate with USDA the conditions that will apply to U.S. beef exports entering this market,” says Philip M. Seng, president and CEO, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). “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 these initial reports are positive, we must continue technical negotiations and undergo the process of formally approving export certificates,” explains Kent Bacus, director of international trade for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “China is already the world’s second largest buyer of beef, and with a growing middle class, the export opportunities for U.S. cattlemen and women are tremendous.”
For perspective, China represents vast opportunity for beef exporters, even as that nation’s domestic economy slows from the steamy pace of recent years.
“Q3 is usually the peak season for animal protein consumption in China, and beef prices will be supported by the rising seasonal demand,” say Rabobank economists in that organization’s recent Q3 Beef Quarterly report. “However, in the longer term, domestic beef prices are expected to decline, given exposure to a weaker economy, which is expected to slow further in 2017.”
“To continue to grow demand for our product, our industry relies on fair trade based on sound science,” Bacus says. “This latest announcement by China is welcome news and further highlights the benefits of trade in the Pacific, opportunities that will only be expanded by passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership.”
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