China to partially lift 13-year ban on US beef imports

CHINA, the world's second-largest beef buyer, has partly lifted a ban on US beef imports, to accept imports of bone-in beef and boneless beef for livestock under 30 months.

China suspended imports of US beef in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was detected in Washington state, reported Bloomberg.

According to a statement from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the imports must follow requirements under China's traceability, inspection and quarantine systems.

China increased imports of beef by 51 per cent in the first seven months of the year compared with 2015 because of slower domestic production caused by thin margins for Chinese cattle producers and the availability of cheap imports, Rabobank International said in a report.

China's beef and veal imports are expected to surge 24 per cent this year to 825,000 tons, and consumption will rise 3.4 per cent to 7.59 million tons, exceeding production of 6.79 million tons, according to US Department of Agriculture data.

Surging demand has been a boon to Australian producers after a drought increased cattle slaughter and supply available for export. The country has recently been losing market share to Brazil, which was allowed to resume shipments to China last year.

US Meat Export Federation president Philip Seng said China still has to negotiate with the US Department of Agriculture about conditions that will apply to US beef exports entering the market.