Hong Kong Reopens Market to U.S. Beef and Beef Products
The Department of Agriculture reports that effective June 17 Hong Kong will permit imports of all U.S. beef and beef products. Previously, only deboned beef from all cattle and certain bone-in beef from cattle less than 30 months of age could be shipped from the U.S. to Hong Kong. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted that the change should provide expanded opportunities in what is already the fourth-largest market for U.S. beef and beef product exports, where sales reached a record high of $823 million in 2013.
A USDA press release notes that Hong Kong and others banned U.S. beef and beef products in December 2003 following the detection of a bovine spongiform encephalopathy-positive animal in the U.S. In 2013 the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) granted the U.S. negligible risk status for BSE, which USDA says “confirmed that U.S. beef is safe.” Hong Kong has now joined Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador and Sri Lanka in lifting their restrictions on U.S. beef this year following the OIE determination.