U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is in China this week, along with U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, to formally mark the return of U.S. beef to the Chinese market after a 13-year hiatus.
During events in Beijing, China, and Shanghai on June 30 and July 1, 2017, Perdue will meet with Chinese government officials to celebrate the return of American beef products to the key market after shipments were halted at the end of 2003. On Friday in Beijing, Perdue and Branstad will ceremonially cut prime rib that originated in Nebraska and was shipped by the Greater Omaha Packing Co.
“I will be proud to be on hand for the official reintroduction of U.S. beef to China,” Perdue said. “This is tremendous news for the American beef industry, the agriculture community and the American economy in general. We will once again have access to the enormous Chinese market, with a strong and growing middle class, which had been closed to our ranchers for a long, long time. There’s no doubt in my mind that when the Chinese people taste our high-quality U.S. beef, they’ll want more of it.”
President Donald Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, officials with the U.S. Trade Representative and Perdue announced the deal brokered to allow the return of U.S. beef to China on May 11, 2017, as part of the U.S.-China 100-day action plan. The first shipment of U.S. beef arrived in China on June 19, 2017.
China has emerged as a major beef buyer in recent years, with imports increasing from $275 million in 2012 to $2.5 billion in 2016. The U.S. is the world’s largest beef producer and, in 2016, was the world’s fourth-largest exporter, with global sales of more than $5.4 billion.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the final details of a protocol to allow American companies to begin shipping beef exports to China. To date, producers and processors in Nebraska and Kansas are eligible to ship beef products to China, having followed requirements set forth in the USDA Export Verification Program and according to USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service export requirements. USDA maintains a public list of companies that are eligible and will continue to update it as more companies complete the export documentation requirements.
Perdue will meet with Han Changfu, China’s minister of agriculture, to discuss additional market access goals on Friday morning. Later in the day, he will meet with China's Vice Premier Wang Yang.
On Saturday, he will tour a Chinese supermarket and participate in a cooking demonstration as well as highlight other American products in a major Chinese supermarket.