Sept 24, 2016: China’ Ministry of Agriculture lifted the embargo on US beef following a recently concluded review of the US supply system. This is a critical first step to restore market access for US beef and beef products.
“We look forward to prompt engagement by the relevant authorities for further technical discussions on the specific conditions that will allow trade to resume. True access to China’s beef market consistent with science-based, international standards for trade remains a top priority for the United States. The United States produces the highest-quality beef in the world, and China’s 1.3 billion consumers are an important market for US producers. The Obama Administration and USDA will continue to press trading partners to eliminate unfair barriers to trade that hamper American farmers and ranchers,” said Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary.
Following the discovery of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in December 2003, US beef and beef product exports fell.
Since 2003, USDA has led a multi-agency, full-court press, dedicating significant resources to restore foreign market access for US beef.
In 2003, China’s imports of beef totaled $15 million (12,000 tonnes), including $10 million from the United States. In recent years, China’s imports have risen dramatically, reaching a record $2.3 billion in 2015.
USDA forecasts that China will surpass Japan as the second-largest beef importer (after the United States) with imports estimated at 825,000 tonnes in 2016.
Since January 2015, USDA has gained additional market access for US beef in 16 countries, including: Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guatemala, Iraq, Lebanon, Macau, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Saint Lucia, Singapore, South Africa, Ukraine, Vietnam and Brazil.
The past seven years have represented the strongest period in history for American agricultural exports, with international sales of US farm and food products surpassing $1 trillion between fiscal years 2009 and the present.
In FY 2003, US beef exports (excluding beef products) totaled $3.0 billion (0.9 million tonnes) to 112 countries. As a result of the December 2003 BSE case, US beef exports fell to $1.1 billion (0.3 million tonnes) in FY 2004.
In spite of some remaining restrictions, which USDA continues to prioritise, US beef exports have recovered to pre-2003 levels. In FY 2015, US beef exports totaled $5.8 billion (0.8 million tonnes) to 112 countries.