China began importing U.S. beef on Tuesday in fulfilling its pledge on the U.S.-China 100-day action plan to boost bilateral economic ties.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, announced on its website that eligible U.S. beef has been allowed to enter China since June 20. It is the first such move since 2003.
The Chinese authority published relevant quality and quarantine details Tuesday. The age of the beef cattle should be younger than 30 months. Beef importers should be registered at the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China.
Cattle must be traceable to their birth farm. Beef destined for China must be sourced from cattle that were born, raised and slaughtered in the United States, or cattle that were imported from Canada and Mexico before being slaughtered in the United States.
Offspring of cattle with or suspected with mad cow disease is banned. Other details include veterinary drug regulation as well as packaging and shipment standards.
During a meeting at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in April, leaders of the two nations agreed to establish a comprehensive economic dialogue and initiate a 100-day plan to boost bilateral economic cooperation.
As the results of the action plan, China will allow imports of U.S. beef and the United States will import poultry from China. Most of the agreements are expected to be implemented by July 16.
China imposed a ban on U.S. beef in December 2003 after mad cow disease was found in U.S. cattle. Before the ban, the United States was China's largest supplier of imported beef.
China has become one of the largest import markets for beef. Lifting the ban means new opportunities for the U.S. cattle producers, who will be regaining access to an enormous market with an ever-expanding middle class.