The United States registered beef exports worth 2,644 million dollars in the first quarter of 2022, a year-on-year increase of 43.3%, according to data from the Commerce Department.
Among the main destinations were South Korea (780 million dollars, +58.5%) and China (471 million, +111.5 percent).
While China has remained the world’s largest beef importer, US beef exports have expanded.
Other notable destinations of these sales from the United States in the first quarter of the current year were: Japan (454 million dollars, +16.3%), Taiwan (227 million, 91.8%) and Mexico (186 million, -1.1 percent) .
The United States is the world’s largest producer of beef, primarily high-quality grain-fed beef for domestic use and for export.
However, the United States is a net importer of this product, buying grass-fed and lower-value beef destined for processing.
American industry is roughly divided into two production sectors: dairy operations and cattle feeding. Because the cattle/beef industry depends on feed grains, grain supply and prices affect beef production.
Considering complete years, United States beef exports went from 6,930 million dollars in 2019, to 6,544 million in 2020 and then to 9,265 million in 2021.
In May 2017, China pledged to allow US beef shipments to resume to its market in accordance with international food safety and animal health standards.
However, China backtracked a month later, insisting it would maintain certain conditions related to veterinary drugs, growth promoters and animal health that were inconsistent with international food safety and animal health standards.
For example, China insisted on maintaining a zero-tolerance ban on the use of beta-agonists and synthetic hormones commonly used by livestock producers around the world under strict veterinary controls and following Codex Alimentarius (Codex) guidelines.
Beef from only about 3% of US cattle qualified for import to China under these conditions.
In the Phase One Agreement, China agreed to expand the scope of U.S. beef products allowed for import, remove age restrictions on cattle slaughtered for export to China, and recognize the U.S. beef traceability system. beef and beef products from the United States.
China also agreed to set maximum residue levels (MRLs) for three synthetic hormones used legally for decades in the United States in accordance with Codex standards and guidelines.
When Codex standards and guidelines do not yet exist, China agreed to use the MRLs established by other countries that have conducted science-based risk assessments.
Although China confirmed to the United States that it had adopted Codex-compliant MRLs for the use of the three synthetic hormones in beef, it has not yet published the MRLs.
According to the USTR, the lack of publication contributes to regulatory ambiguity for US beef producers and traders, who remain unsure what products will be allowed to be imported into China.
China’s failure to publish MRLs is another example of China’s inadequate implementation of the Phase One Agreement.