Clements: The recent announcement of an agreement to restart U.S. beef exports to China could be worth more than $2 billion to U.S. agriculture. AFBF Senior Director of Congressional Relations Dave Salmonsen says the China beef market is growing, and China is looking to purchase more beef.
Salmonsen: As China improves economically, more people moving into the middle class, they’re looking to improve their diets and then they’re looking to purchase more beef. Currently, most of their beef is coming in from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Australia, but there certainly is an opportunity for our grain-fed U.S. beef. And the estimates are this could grow to a more than $2 billion a year beef export market for the U.S.
Clements: Part of the agreement with China includes poultry and biotechnology approvals.
Salmonsen: One thing that China wants to be able to do is to export cooked poultry into the U.S. So, as part of the agreement, the U.S. needs to put out a proposed rule to allow that to happen. So, it’s a good example of the way trade works where people have to get benefits on both sides of this. Also in the agreement is a desire to work on biotechnology and the approval process in China, so there was an announcement there’d be more work on that.
Clements: The target date to complete the agreement is July 17th of this year. Salmonsen says U.S. beef could then be exported to China.
Salmonsen: It’s like anything; it won’t reach full potential right away. But over time we, again, think that could be a really strong market and certainly hope it will help prices here in the U.S. for the benefit of ranchers across the country. We will see how all this works out. This is an agreement, both sides are committed to working through these issues and we hope they’ll be diligent and solve the issues that need to be ironed out to make this trade happen.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.