For the first time in more than a decade, beef products produced in the United States will officially be allowed into China’s marketplace through the front door. Kent Bacus, director of international trade and market access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, told Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, this trade agreement has been a long-time coming and is very welcomed.
“There’s been a lot of us cutting our teeth on trade policy with the Chinese for many years over this beef issue,” he said, citing a 2003 BSE incident in the US that caused the Chinese to close their markets to US beef. “For the last several years, we’ve really been trying to educate the Chinese government and a lot of their representatives on just how safe our product is.”
With many internal issues of their own, Bacus says food safety protocols are one of the chief concerns of the Chinese when it comes to vetting their trade partners. As part of the negotiated requirements to allow US beef back into China, only certain cattle will qualify for exportation, which adhere to a strict 30 month of age limit and mandatory enrollment in a “bookend traceability system,” that will allow isolated risks to be tracked should they arise. But, China is not the only participant that has negotiated some fail-safes.