U.S. Beef Imports to China Could Arrive by This Summer


President of the United States Donald Trump and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping agreed at their Mar-a-Lago meeting to advance U.S. – China economic cooperation with a 100-day action plan under the framework of the U.S. – China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue. Under the leadership of the co-chairs, Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross of the United States and Vice Premier Wang Yang of China, both nations have negotiated intensively to make progress on key issues. The three co-chairs reached consensus on initial commitments under the 100-day plan and objectives for next steps.

In approximately one month following the Presidential Summit, the two sides reached consensus on addressing issues in areas including agricultural trade, financial services, investment, and energy. For details, see the U.S.-China joint fact sheet below.

Both sides also identified other issues that will require significant effort to resolve and achieve progress on within the 100-day period.  Both sides further committed to strengthen communication and coordination to jointly advance those issues and achieve resolution as soon as possible.  Further, as concrete progress is made in implementing the actions under the 100-day plan, the two sides will begin discussing a one-year plan to further solidify actions in promoting U.S. – China economic engagement and cooperation.  Following implementation of the 100-day plan, the United States and China look forward to deepening engagement on these and other issues at the first meeting of the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, to be held in the United States in the summer of 2017.

 Initial Actions of the U.S.-China Economic Cooperation 100-Day Plan: Click here for full list

The U.S. beef industry may finally see movement on getting their product into China. One of the points of initial actions of the U.S.-China Economic Cooperation 100-day plan is following one more round of technical consultations between the U.S. and China, China is to allow imports of U.S. beef on conditions consistent with international food safety and animal health standards and consistent with the 1999 Agricultural Cooperation Agreement. It would begin as soon as possible but no later than July 16, 2017.

China has not allowed U.S. beef into the country since 2003 after a case of BSE was confirmed in the United States late that year.

Having an actual date for U.S. beef to be exported to China is a step further than previous announcements between the U.S. and China. The previous announcement came back in September 2016, but nothing came of that announcement.

Reaction to the announcement was positive and historic and in some cases positive yet cautious on the announcement:

USDA Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue:

“This is tremendous news for the American beef industry, the agriculture community, and the U.S. 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.  I commend the persistence of President Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the U.S. Trade Representative’s officials, and our own USDA professionals.  I also thank our Chinese counterparts, who worked so hard to get this agreement into place.  When the Chinese people taste our high-quality U.S. beef, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll want more of it.”

(When the September 2016 announcement was made, USDA made a comparison of China in 2003 and China Now)

In 2003, China’s imports of beef totaled $15 million (12,000 tons), including $10 million from the United States. In recent years, China’s imports have risen dramatically, reaching a record $2.3 billion in 2015. USDA forecasts that China will surpass Japan as the second-largest beef importer (after the United States) with imports estimated at 825,000 tons in 2016.


National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Craig Uden:

“After being locked out of the world’s largest market for 13 years, we strongly welcome the announcement that an agreement has been made to restore U.S. beef exports to China. It’s impossible to overstate how beneficial this will be for America’s cattle producers, and the Trump Administration deserves a lot of credit for getting this achieved. We look forward to providing nearly 1.4 billion new customers in China with the same safe and delicious U.S. beef that we feed our families. I look forward to the day when we can serve President Trump and President Xi a dry-aged American-made New York strip in Beijing.”


Kansas Senator and Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts:

“I’m pleased to see the Administration fully engaged in trade discussions that could have tremendous benefits for agriculture. There are several market access issues that need to be resolved with China, and progress on beef and biotechnology approvals would be beneficial for producers in Kansas and across the U.S.”


“Negotiating market access for U.S. beef products into China has been a prolonged effort, and I will remain cautiously optimistic until I see the first shipment of American beef land in China.”

“USDA and USTR, along with the Departments of Commerce and Treasury, have made great strides thus far. Having U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer and the newly created Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs on board will bolster those activities. I’m hopeful they’ll get to work on other export markets as well.”


Joint Statement from Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey:

“Kansas welcomes the news that an agreement has been reached to open China’s borders to U.S. beef after being locked out of that market for the last 13 years,” said Governor Brownback. “We commend the Trump Administration for this achievement. Restoring U.S. beef exports to China opens the door to sell high quality, safe and delicious Kansas beef to nearly 1.4 billion new customers in China.”
“This is tremendous news for Kansas agriculture,” said Secretary McClaskey. “The Kansas beef industry is the single largest agricultural sector in the state, making it a significant contributor to the Kansas economy, generating more than $15 billion annually. We are committed to working with the Kansas beef industry to take full advantage of this export opportunity, which will have a major impact as we continue to identify ways to grow Kansas agriculture.”

U.S.Meat Export Federation:

USMEF welcomes today’s announcement that the United States and China have reached a high-level agreement that will allow U.S. beef to reenter the Chinese market after a prolonged absence of more than 13 years.

USMEF and its members greatly appreciate the efforts of the Trump administration and officials at USDA and USTR that made today’s announcement possible.


North American Meat Institute:

“The meat industry has long sought access to the Chinese market for U.S. beef, making today’s announcement a significant and very welcome milestone,” said Meat Institute Chairman and Bob Evans Farms President and CEO Mike Townsley. “High quality beef is in high demand in China, so the deal has great potential for both our businesses and the U.S. economy as a whole.”

“The administration has shown great leadership in working with the Chinese government and industry to help finalize market access for U.S. beef,” Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter said. “The beef deal is a significant, concrete accomplishment resulting from the 100-day plan established by President Trump and President Xi at their summit. We are thankful for the hard work on the issue by both leaders.”

The Chinese market is estimated to be worth $2.6 billion for the U.S. beef industry. Asian countries already make up some of the largest markets for U.S. beef with Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan making up four of the top six export markets, accounting for $3.6 billion in value in 2016.