Nebraska has stake in beef exports

By Am Yhe in Omaha, Nebraska and May Zhou in Houston | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-17 09:55

 Nebraska has stake in beef exports

Rancher Jay Wolf of Bartlett, Nebraska, shows off some of his cattle. Top inset: A hostess holds a tray of sliced US beef at an event to celebrate its reintroduction to China in Beijing on June 30. Bottominset: At the same event, US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue (center) laughs with industry leaders Luan Richeng (right) and Craig Uden as they cut into a roast. Amyhe / China Daily, AP

US state sends first batch of steaks to China since ban lifted

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts was excited when he saw off the first shipment of US beef products on a flight to a client in Shanghai on June 14. It came after a 14-year absence in the market, and Ricketts realized that it signaled a new era for his state's agricultural sector.

"Having a great market like China open up for us was really fantastic news for our ranchers here, and an incredibly exciting opportunity for our state," Ricketts said in an interview in his office on the day of that flight.

"If we can achieve the same sort of market share in China as we've achieved in other countries, that could mean a potential 20 percent increase in the exports of beef from Nebraska, potentially [adding] another $200 million to the economy for us," the governor said. "This is a big deal for us."

That first test shipment to China from Greater Omaha Packing Co, one of the biggest beef processors in the country, carried not only individually wrapped steaks - rib eyes, tenderloins and New York strips - but also represented a new opportunity for cattle ranchers across the Cornhusker State and other beef-producing states in the United States.

China's lifting of a ban imposed on US beef imports in 2003 - because of a case of mad cow disease - fulfills one of the achievements of a Sino-US 100-day action plan, which was reached by President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump during their meeting in Florida in April.

During the meeting, Xi and Trump agreed to establish new bilateral mechanisms, including a comprehensive economic dialogue and initiate a 100-day economic cooperation plan, regarded as win-win moves by experts. In May the two countries announced initial results in areas like agriculture, electronic payments, financial services and energy, and proposed that China begin importing US beef no later than July 16, according to a US Department of Commerce release dated May 11.

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