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China a step closer to resuming US beef imports

Posted June 12

— China is a step closer to allowing imports of U.S. beef for the first time in almost 14 years.

The United States and China have agreed on final details of a deal to allow the imports, the Agriculture Department said Monday. The agreement is one part of a bilateral agreement reached following President Donald Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April.

China imposed a ban on American beef in 2003 after a case of mad-cow disease, a ban that remained in place despite extensive efforts by the Bush and Obama administrations to get it removed. Before the ban, the United States was China's largest supplier of imported beef.

In exchange for China opening its borders to U.S. beef, the U.S. would allow the sale of cooked Chinese poultry.

USDA said that China is requiring that any beef imported from the U.S. must have been born, raised and slaughtered in the United States or imported from Canada or Mexico and raised and slaughtered here. It could also be imported from Canada or Mexico and slaughtered in the U.S.

The beef also has to be derived from cattle less than 30 months old and traceable to the U.S. birth farm or first place of residence or port of entry. All of the precautions lessen the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer all praised the deal in a statement.

"I have no doubt that as soon as the Chinese people get a taste of American beef, they'll want more of it," Perdue said.

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