China Lifts Ban on Imports of U.S. Beef
Federal officials announced Sept. 22 that China's Ministry of Agriculture has lifted its ban on U.S. beef from cattle younger than 30 months of age following a recently concluded review of the U.S. supply system. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said this is “a critical first step to restore market access for U.S. beef and beef products” but the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said that the two countries “must complete other steps before U.S. beef can be exported to China.”
A USDA press release states in fiscal year 2003 U.S. beef exports (excluding beef products) totaled $3.0 billion (0.9 million tons) to 112 countries. Following the December 2003 discovery in the U.S. of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, exports fell to $1.1 billion (0.3 million tons) in FY 2004. As of FY 2015 export volumes (0.8 million tons) had still not regained their pre-BSE levels but export values had reached an all-time high of $5.8 billion. USDA notes that there are some remaining restrictions but that since January 2015 it has achieved recognition of the United States’ negligible risk status for BSE by 16 countries: Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guatemala, Iraq, Lebanon, Macau, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Saint Lucia, Singapore, South Africa, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Brazil.