Chinese authorities announced that the nation has lifted a 13-year import ban on some U.S. boneless beef and beef on the bone, and industry insiders see it as a win-win result that is expected to drive the economic growth of both countries.
The announcement signals the fulfillment of another achievement of the Sino-U.S. 100-day action plan, which aims to boost bilateral economic ties. Since June 20, eligible U.S. beef has been allowed to be imported into China, according to the statement of General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China.
It also published detailed quarantine requirements, stating that the removal of the ban applies to cattle under 30 months old. Beef importers should be registered at the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China, and imported cattle must be traceable to their birth farm.
Beef imported into China must be sourced from cattle that were born, raised and slaughtered in the United States, or cattle born in Canada and Mexico before being slaughtered in the United States. The cattle must not be the offspring of cattle suspected or diagnosed with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as "mad cow disease", the statement said.
China has banned imports of most U.S. beef since 2003, partly due to concerns over the spread of "mad cow disease". Previously, the U.S. was China's largest supplier of imported beef.
Currently, China is the fastest-growing market for beef consumption globally, and the imported beef mainly comes from Australia, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Last year, consumption of beef in China reached 8 million metric tons, and the market scale achieved 360 billion yuan (.7 billion), according to the Ministry of Commerce.
China's domestic beef market has a 10 percent demand gap that needs to be fulfilled by imported suppliers.
"This is a win-win achievement for both China and the United States, the imported U.S. beef will better fulfill the demand of Chinese consumers," said Zhao Ping, director of the international trade research department at the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.