Friday, September 23, 2016

China to Resume Imports of U.S. Beef, Premier Says

China’s premier promised to resume Chinese imports of U.S. beef soon, calling it a sign of Beijing’s sincerity to improve commercial ties with the U.S. Speaking to U.S. business groups in New York on Tuesday night, Premier Li Keqiang said China would soon allow imports of U.S. beef. “We also recognize that the United States has very good beef, so why should we deny Chinese customers this choice?” Mr. Li said, in one of several less scripted moments during his remarks. Though the premier didn’t give a specific timetable, trade groups have previously said imports may resume before the end of the year. China has had a ban in place on most U.S. beef imports since 2003, partly due to concerns over the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow” disease, after a cow with the disease was found in Washington state . The World Animal Health Organization considers the risk of the disease “negligible.” But bans on U.S. beef from countries like China and Brazil, which have built up their own livestock herds in recent years, persisted until this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and officials from Brazil announced an agreement in August to drop bans on each other’s beef earlier this year. U.S. cattle producers this year have urged agriculture officials to make reopening export markets a top priority, as prices have tumbled to the lowest levels in six years because of rising domestic meat supplies...more

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