The comprehensive agreement comes under the 100-day action plan to improve trade ties and covers agriculture, financial services, investment, and energy.
By no later than 16 July, American beef producers will have full access to export to the Chinese marketplace of 1.4 billion people; both countries will also work together to allow imports of cooked Chinese chicken.
America’s meat industry claims the Chinese market may be worth $2.6bn to beef producers and the Trump administration’s deal with one of the world’s top meat importers was widely praised.
‘Historic’ day for beef
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) said it was “impossible to overstate” how big an impact the “historic” reopening of China will have for beef producers.
NCBA president Craig Uden said he was looking forward to the day when industry can serve US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping “a dry-aged American-made New York strip in Beijing”.
He also said Trump deserved “a lot of credit” for improving once-tense trading ties with China.
Decision praised by meat industry
North American Meat Institute (NAMI) chairman Bob Evens called the deal “a significant and very welcome milestone” with great potential for US jobs and economic growth.
The US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) also joined the chorus of trade associations praising the multi-sector trade deal.
“USMEF welcomes today’s announcement that the United States and China have reached a high-level agreement that will allow US beef to re-enter the Chinese market after a prolonged absence of more than 13 years.”
Officially known as the US-China Economic Cooperation 100-day plan, the agreement may have averted a dangerous trade war between the two nations that would have caused huge damage to the meat industry.
Under the beef agreement, China will allow imports on conditions consistent with international food safety and animal health standards and in accordance with the 1999 Agricultural Cooperation Agreement.
Exports are set to begin as soon as possible, but by no later than 16 July 2017.
It has been over 13 years since China blocked imports of US beef, following an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) – colloquially known as mad cow’s disease – in 2003.
China did lift restrictions on US beef exports in September 2016, but technical negotiations made no progress meaning meat exporters were still technically frozen out of the massive market.