China lifts ban on US beef imports, in accordance with phase-one deal

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/24 19:23:42

China lifted a 19-year import ban on US beef, giving the US farmers much broader access to China's rising market, which is also in accordance with the agreed phase one trade deal signed in January.

The removal of the restriction will also ease supply shortages in China amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to experts. 

The ban, which previously only allowed US beef from cattle less than 30 months of age to be imported to China, was activated in 2001, according to the General Administration of Customs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. 

Tian Yun, director of the China Society of Macroeconomics Research Center, believes that although the lifting of the ban is part of the agreement in the phase one deal, it will significantly increase the amount of beef supply in China and ease the shortages during the coronavirus outbreak.

"This is the perfect timing to increase imports of US beef as agreed in the phase one deal," Tian said. "It can help with demand that is unmet by domestic production in the coronavirus outbreak, and possibly contain the meat prices."

Due to limited production and prolonged business closures, China's consumer price index in January rose 5.4 percent year-on-year, marking the fastest acceleration in eight years.

"It is also a time when customers are less sensitive to prices, as the rising prices of daily consumption makes the relatively higher price of US beef more acceptable," Tian noted.

"It gives US beef an opportunity to reach out to a larger market."

US had some access to China's beef market in 2017, but that was subject to restrictive requirements including the age and traceability of the cattle. 

In January, China agreed to buy a total of $200 billion in goods and services from the US from the year 2020 to 2021 in the phase one deal, including almost $50 billion of agricultural products. 

Posted in: ECONOMY

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