In the heartland of Iowa lies a small town named Tama. Of the town’s small population of 2,830, over 800 work in the Iowa Premium Beef processing plant. The plant reached a landmark moment when it recently applied to export beef to China. It is now busy preparing documents requested by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as well as by the equivalent agency in China…Full Article: The Global Times June 2017

Key Point

  • Iowa Premium Beef is working to export beef to mainland China. The company typically processes 1,150 heads of cattle daily, though production shuts down 1 to 2 days per week.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In June 2017, Nebraskan beef suppliers began shipments to Shanghai. Nebraska’s Greater Omaha Packing (founded 1920) was among the first US beef processors to receive export approval to mainland China. It will be the first time in 14 years that the company has supplied the Chinese market.
  • In March 2017, China and Australia signed an agreement lifting restrictions on beef imports. As a result of the agreement, all licensed Australian beef exporters can export chilled beef to the Chinese market. Previously, only 11 Australian suppliers could export chilled beef.
  • In 2016, China’s beef market reportedly had an 830,000 MT supply gap. During that year, roughly 600,000 MTs of beef (22% increase from 2015) was imported by China.
  • In September 2016, China lifted a ban on bone-in and boneless beef from cattle under 30 months old from the USA. On 21 September 2016 (the day before the US beef ban was lifted), for the first time ever China’s central bank permitted a US-based bank to clear Chinese CNY (yuan) transactions. The New York branch of the Bank of China was given permission to begin yuan clearing services.
  • In April 2016, Chinese veterinary inspectors carried out audits of beef producers in Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Britain, Belgium and Italy as a possible precursor to opening up trade.
  • In January 2016, China (via Shanghai) imported beef from Hungary for the first time.
  • In October 2015, China and Hungary signed a beef trade agreement.
  • In February 2015, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) formally lifted the ban on Irish beef, allowing Ireland to export deboned beef from animals under the age of 30 months.
  • In February 2012, after a 27 year hiatus, Xi Jinping revisited Muscatine, stating “coming here is really like coming back home.” At an official dinner in Des Moines, the governor of Iowa toasted Xi saying “Iowa farmers are proud to harvest safe and reliable agricultural products for use by the people of China.” During the visit, U.S. companies Cargill Inc. and the Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. signed contracts to export $4.3 billion worth of soybeans to China.
  • In 2006, mainland China partially lifted its ban on US beef, allowing the US to export beef from cattle up to 30 months old. However, US beef suppliers complained that sanitary certificates for their beef were not being issued in a timely manner by China. The ban was still in-effect, just under a less official form.
  • In 2005, Hong Kong banned US beef, but reopened imports for boneless beef in 2006. In 2013, Hong Kong reopened imports of US in-bone beef in February 2013.
  • In 2003, China banned US beef after a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), aka mad cow disease, was detected in Washington state. China also banned beef from Canada in 2003 due to concerns over mad cow disease (BSE). The Canadian ban was eventually lifted in 2010.
  • In 2001, China banned beef imports from the European Union (EU) over concerns from Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), aka mad cow disease.
  • In 1985, Xi Jinping (age 31) led a small animal feed delegation from Hebei province to study American agriculture and paid a 3-day visit to the town of Muscatine (pop. 23,000), eastern Iowa. As of 2011, Iowa was the top US soybean producer at 466 million metric tons or 12.7% of output.
  • In 1983, Hebei Province became an Iowan sister-state.
  • In 1980, Xi Jinping’s father, Xi Zhongxun visited Iowa to learn about the state’s agriculture industry.

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