Agreement restoring U.S. beef exports to China applauded by Senate leaders

Senate leaders called the Trump administration’s announcement on Monday that it had reached an agreement to restore U.S. beef exports to China great news for cattle producers and families across the country.

The agreement, which will end China’s ban on U.S. beef imports that dates back to 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was confirmed in Washington state, met applause from U.S. Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Joni Ernst (R-IA).

“For the first time in 13 years, Montana beef will now be served on menus, plates and in Chinese households,” Daines said. “China is the world’s second largest beef market. After my two official trade missions to Beijing, including pressing the Chinese Premier and endless conversations with the Trump and Obama administrations — the ban is over. Montanans know U.S. beef is the highest quality in the world and now our producers can compete on a level playing field.”

Daines, who spent nearly six years in China growing markets for American brands and products while working in the private sector, has been a long-time support of restoring beef exports to China.

Fischer, meanwhile, recently hosted a roundtable discussion with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and local ranchers in Nebraska. During the discussion, Perdue called restoration of U.S. beef exports to China a top priority.

“Nebraska beef producers are the best in the world,” Fischer said. Monday’s “agreement is welcome news for families across our state who can now compete in a new market that is estimated at $2.6 billion. I look forward to continuing my work with the administration to expand opportunities for our beef producers to deliver their outstanding, high-quality products to a hungry world.”

During the 114th Congress, Fischer collaborated with the USDA to restore U.S. beef exports to Israel, and an agreement to do so was announced in February 2016.

Ernst, a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, called Monday “a great day for cattle producers in Iowa and across the country,” and she lauded members of the Trump administration for their work on the issue.

“President Trump’s team, including USDA Secretary Perdue, Commerce Secretary (Wilbur) Ross, U.S. Trade Representative (Robert) Lighthizer and newly-confirmed Ambassador (Terry) Branstad were all instrumental in getting this done,” Ernst said. “Having access to the world’s most populous nation is a huge win for our entire agricultural industry, as well as for the people of China who can now enjoy our high quality beef.”