U.S. beef exports will benefit as China’s foodservice sector continues to rebound from Covid-19 restrictions imposed earlier this year, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, says beef exports to China in the first half of 2020 were up 80 percent from a year ago in both volume (6,912 metric tons) and value ($54.1 million).
“During the most recent reporting week, new US beef sales to China exceeded 1,900 tons,” Haggard said. “That’s getting close to 100 containers of product being sold to China in just one week. It’s the largest weekly sales ever. We would not be here without the phase one trade agreement. China moved its import conditions for US product closer to what we would call international norms.”
Haggard says that a temporary tariff exclusion system and tight supplies of Australian beef have also made US beef cuts more price-competitive in China.
“China is evolving into more of a grain fed market,” Haggard said. “Having watched how Korea, Taiwan, and Japan developed, we think the same process is going to play out in China. Although China is still experiencing small limited Covid-19 outbreaks, we as a marketing organization are holding almost daily activities with importers, distributors, and restaurant and retail chains teaching existing and potential end users about US beef attributes.”
Haggard says some US beef processors remain cautious about entering the Chinese market, but he welcomes more participation as importers, distributors and other prospective buyers are showing heightened interest in U.S. beef.