U.S. and China finalize beef export agreement

The U.S. and China have finally reached an agreement on commercial shipments of beef according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For the first time since 2003, the U.S. is now allowed to begin beef exports to China. The USDA and Chinese officials finalized the details on Tuesday.

The USDA reported that since 2003, the U.S. had been banned from China’s market. They also said until the ban took effect, the U.S. was China’s largest supplier of imported beef, providing 70 percent of their total intake.

The U.S. is the largest producer of beef in the world.

The agreement is part of the U.S.-China 100-Day Action plan announced on May 11 by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin.

The U.S.-China 100-Day Action plan is a Comprehensive Economic Dialogue co-chaired by Secretary Ross and Secretary Mnuchin for the United States and Vice Premier Wang Yang for China.

The USDA, in agreement with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, posted technical documents related to the beginning of shipments on Monday.

“Today is a great day for the United States and in particular for our cattle producers, who will be regaining access to an enormous market with an ever-expanding middle class,” said Perdue.

In a statement, Perdue also emphasized Trumps efforts to bring momentum to agriculture families. He also thanked those who worked on the agreement, saying without their hard work it would not have been possible. “I have no doubt that as soon as the Chinese people get a taste of American beef they’ll want more of it.”

Both Ross and Mnuchin issued statements Monday.

“President Trump is doing more to improve the U.S.-China relationship than any president in decades, and this final beef protocol agreement represents even more concrete progress,” said Ross in a statement. “I look forward to engaging with our Chinese counterparts as we address more complex issues to the benefit of both our nations.”

Mnuchin added, “We will continue to work toward a more fair and balanced economic relationship with China by expanding opportunities for U.S. workers and businesses.”

Montana beef will be exported as part of the agreement. U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester made statements on the announcement.

“For the first time in 13 years, Montana beef will now be served on menus, plates and in Chinese households,” Daines stated. “China is the world’s second largest beef market.”

Watch Daines’ full statement here.

“This new market will provide Montana cattle ranchers with the opportunity to grow their operations and create a good living off the land,” said Tester. “I am pleased to work with the Trump Administration to ensure that Montana beef is back on the menu in China.”