U.S. beef products struggle to gain traction in China.
U.S. cuts of beef are largely unnoticeable in China’s meat isles, Bloomberg reports. The Chinese market welcomes U.S. beef while catering to a growing middle-class.
United States Department of Agriculture predicts imports to climb to 950,000 metric tons this year from 26,000 metric tons in 2003. However, U.S. beef struggles to gain traction in the Chinese market. Matt Deppe is Chief Executive Officer for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. Deppe said cattlemen should be thankful for the market opportunity, but remain cautiously optimistic.
“This is a large middle-class, we should be happy that we have a trade agreement signed. Even when we were over there a couple weeks ago, we could tell there are some hoops to jump through and some tape to cut through. It’s going to take some time. If you talk around the industry, we’re cautiously optimistic. We need to keep our try on and keep working through the different hoops and red tape because ultimately that’s a great market down the road for us,” Deppe said.
Out of 600,000 head of cattle slaughtered in the United States, only about 1,600 meet Chinese specifications, according to Bloomberg. Deppe said the U.S. must also cater to China’s unique diet.
“It’s an Asian market, a population that consumes a little less animal protein on their typical food plate. Certainly, when you look at cuts, you have short plates, sirloin caps and those types of things that maybe aren’t as highly demanded in the United States. We take those lower value domestic cuts, add some value to them and ship them over,” Deppe said.
The Trump Administration included the return of U.S. beef and beef products in the U.S.-China 100-Day Action Plan. The first shipment of U.S. beef arrived in China on June 19, 2017, after being banned from the Asian market for 14-years.