By Rita Jane Gabbett on 4/10/2014
China has agreed once more to allow U.S. beef exports to that country, ending a ban in effect since 2003. The deal was struck over the weekend between President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping, according to the Financial Times.
The opportunity for U.S. beef exporters could be significant. Global AgriTrends calculates the greater China region (China, Hong Kong, Vietnam) as a $7 billion dollar market, according to Stephens Inc. analyst Farha Aslam.
In a note to investors, Aslam cautioned, however, that China has twice before agreed to grant market access to U.S. beef but regulatory hurdles have prevented any real trade to materialize.
U.S. beef industry stakeholders applauded a similar announcement last September that China would end the 13-year ban on U.S. beef, originating upon the first discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Last September, the U.S. Meat Export Federation had also cautioned that while it was a good first step, that USDA and its Chinese counterparts still had to negotiate conditions for U.S. beef to enter that market.
Since then, beef industry groups have been calling on the Trump Administration to take action on the issue. Details were not immediately available on how this new agreement will move the issue forward from the September agreeement.
Aslam noted open access to China could represent a large opportunity for Tyson Foods, as the company accounts for 23 percent U.S. annual beef slaughter.