Donald Trump and China: call to unlock beef market

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

US President Donald Trump will meet China's president Xi Jinping in April
US President Donald Trump will meet China's president Xi Jinping in April

Related tags Bovine spongiform encephalopathy International trade Beef

US meat bodies have urged US President Donald Trump to secure China President Xi Jinping’s support for a beef deal, with industry talks failing to make progress.

Trump will host China’s President Xi Jinping for a two-day summit in April and the meat bodies want Trump to get US beef back into China.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) have jointly written a letter to US President Donald Trump calling on him to act.

American beef producers lost access to the billion-dollar Chinese market in 2003 following a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), but China lifted its 13-year import ban in September 2016​. Yet, according to the meat associations, attempts to negotiate technical terms linked to market access have been “unsuccessful​” and US producers are still locked out of China.

Market access ‘essential’

This is a concern for the beef industry as America’s competitors gain ground in the Asian market. Australia, a key beef rival, was recently bolstered by China’s decision to increase its import quota for chilled and frozen Australian beef.

With America watching on in the sidelines as competitors expand in one of the world’s most coveted markets, the meat industry is pressing for action.

We believe that access to the large and growing Chinese beef market is essential to the future health of the US beef industry,​” read the letter, signed by NCBA CEO Kendal Frazier, alongside USMEF CEO Philip Seng and NAMI president Barry Carpenter.

We understand that you have many important issues to discuss with President Xi, but we strongly encourage you to take this important opportunity to convey the urgent need for China to reopen its market to US beef.​”

The letter claims three of the top five export markets for US beef come from Asia – but China is not one of them.

Since taking power in January 2017, Donald Trump has been pressed by a variety of meat-interest groups to secure trade deals. NAMI called for bilateral trade deal with Asia​ after Trump exited the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And the National Pork Producers Council has called on Trump to agree a free trade agreement with Japan.

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