U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will travel to China this week, joining with U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, to formally mark the return of U.S. beef to the Chinese market after a 13-year hiatus. In events in Beijing and Shanghai on June 30 and July 1, Perdue will meet with Chinese government officials to celebrate the return of American beef products to the enormous market after shipments were halted at the end of 2003.
On Friday in Beijing, Perdue and Branstad will ceremonially cut prime rib that originated in Nebraska and was shipped by the Greater Omaha Packing Company.
“I will be proud to be on hand for the official reintroduction of U.S. beef to China,” Perdue said. “This is tremendous news for the American beef industry, the agriculture community, and the American 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. There’s no doubt in my mind that when the Chinese people taste our high-quality U.S. beef, they’ll want more of it.”
President Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, officials with the U.S. Trade Representative, and Secretary Perdue announced the deal brokered to allow the return of U.S. beef to China on May 11, as part of the U.S.-China 100-Day Action Plan.
The first shipment of U.S. beef arrived in China on June 19. China has emerged as a major beef buyer in recent years, with imports increasing from $275 million in 2012 to $2.5 billion in 2016. The United States is the world’s largest beef producer and in 2016 was the world’s fourth-largest exporter, with global sales of more than $5.4 billion.