US, China Finalize Details To Send US Beef To China

The USDA announced Monday the details of a protocol that will allow US beef and beef products to be exported to China for the first time since December 2003.

A USDA press release said it was part of the US-China 100-Day Action plan announced May 11, by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.




The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service posted the requirements for its Export Verification program for US establishments shipping to China, which will enable packers to apply for approval to export to China.  The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service also updated its online Export Library specifying China’s requirements for certifying US beef being shipped there.

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.  However, the US has been banned from China’s market since December 2003 when an imported cow was found to have Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, labeled by the British press as “Mad Cow Disease.”

The US is the world’s largest beef producer and was the world’s fourth-largest exporter, with global sales of more than $5.4 billion in 2016.  Until the ban took effect, the US was China’s largest supplier of imported beef, providing 70% of their total intake.




First, a prospective exporter needs to be approved to export to China.  The exporter must participate in the USDA, AMS Export Verification Program for Bovine for the People’s Republic of China, an AMS Beef Traceability Program.

A prospective exporter needs to have a valid import license to allow entry of meat and meat products.  US export companies will need to work with their importers to assure a valid license has been obtained.

Eligible beef products are:  deboned beef, bone-in beef including kidney, liver, omasum, tendons, outside skirt, inside skirt, hanging tender, oxtails, beef bones, feet, cheek meat, head meat, oxlips, backstrap, tunic tissue, ground beef (made strictly in conformance with FSIS regulations excluding weasand meat), tongues derived from cattle less than 30 months of age.

Eligible beef products are: scalded, heat-treated or smoked but not fully cooked products.  No additives are to be used in any of these processes.

Ineligible beef and beef products are:  mechanically separated beef, minced meat (defined by the USDA as “trimmings or scraps that are not in conformance with FSIS regulations (e.g. 9 CFR 416) and the Protocol between USDA and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China for beef for human consumption”) included weasand meat, sweetbreads, aorta, rumen, the reticulum, the abomasum, pizzle, small intestine, large intestine, tallow and beef products not listed as eligible.

Processed beef products also are ineligible for export to China.




The weekly livestock exchange video auction Thursday sold two pens of fed cattle at an average of $136.75 per cwt on a live basis, up $4.57 from $132.18 last week.  A little subsequent cash trading was reported at $220 per cwt on a dressed basis.  Most action took place on Friday at $136 to mostly $137.

The USDA’s choice cutout Monday was up $1.31 per cwt at $252.52, while select was up $1.48 at $221.77.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $30.75 from $30.92 with 91 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Friday was $154.15 per cwt, down $0.76.  This compares with Monday’s Aug settlement at $151.55, down $2.62.