American ranchers feed China’s taste for beef

American beef is once again appearing on Chinese plates.

“Welcoming beef back to China is like a new beginning of this very important and critical relationship between the two biggest economic powers in the world,” U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad said at a June 30 ceremony in Beijing.

China has become one of the largest import markets for beef in recent years. Meanwhile the United States is the world’s largest beef producer.

The new deal between the two countries is “a reflection of China’s trust in the safety and quality of U.S. beef,” said Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

China barred U.S. beef from coming into the country in 2003. That followed the discovery of mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in four American cows. The World Organization for Animal Health rated the risk of that disease in American cattle as “negligible” in 2013, the highest status available.

Chinese chefs preparing meat (© Getty Images)
Chinese cooks cut U.S. beef during a promotional event in Beijing on June 30. (© AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said, “China and the U.S. are making progress in the 100-day action plan to boost economic cooperation,” referring to a framework that President Trump and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping reached earlier this year to improve business relations.

“The return of U.S. beef to China is an example of how cooperation between our two countries can yield real results,” Branstad said.