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Conaway, Rouzer praise China beef agreement

Hispanic butcher at meat counter of grocery store

The Trump administration today released guidance on shipping beef to China, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and House Agriculture Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer, R-N.C., praised the announcement.

At a news briefing that emphasized workplace development, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, "Today, the Department of Agriculture released guidance for American beef producers who are preparing to ship U.S. beef to Chinese markets for the first time since 2003. As we announced last month, as part of the U.S.-China 100-Day Action Plan that followed up the President's meeting with President Xi, China agreed to reopen this $2.5 billion market to American ranchers and cattle producers."

China closed the market in 2003 due to discovery of a case of mad cow disease in the United States. The Obama administration made major progress on reopening the market, but did not finish the work before leaving office. The Chinese market is supposed to be open in mid July.

"Before the market was closed, the U.S. was China's largest supplier of beef, providing 70 percent of its imports. The actions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture today are an important first step in the process of re-opening this lucrative market to American businesses," Spicer added.

Late today, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, "Today is a great day for the United States and in particular for our cattle producers, who will be regaining access to an enormous market with an ever-expanding middle class. Since he was elected, President Trump has brought momentum, optimism, and results to American agriculture families that we haven't seen in years and this agreement is a great example."

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said, "President Trump is doing more to improve the U.S.-China relationship than any president in decades, and this final beef protocol agreement represents even more concrete progress. As we clear away long-standing issues like this one, focusing on near-term, verifiable deliverables, we are building a sound foundation for further discussions. I look forward to engaging with our Chinese counterparts as we address more complex issues to the benefit of both our nations."

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, "The ‎reopening of China's market to American beef is an example of the results-oriented approach this Administration has taken in our engagement with China. We will continue to work toward a more fair and balanced economic relationship with China by expanding opportunities for U.S. workers and businesses."

Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, "I welcome China taking this important step to start allowing U.S. beef imports after shutting them out over 13 years ago. The president's firm commitment to fair trade that benefits the United States has made this new U.S. beef export opportunity possible. I encourage China and all countries to base their requirements on international standards and science. America's ranchers are the best producers of beef in the global economy, and they can compete and succeed wherever there is a level playing field."

"As one of the world's largest importers of beef, China has long-been an area of great opportunity for the U.S. beef industry," Conaway said.

"Well, today that 'great opportunity' becomes a one step closer to reality for cattle producers across the country, hopefully bringing an end to a 13-year drought on beef exports to China," he said. "America's ranchers raise the best and highest quality beef in the world, and I applaud the administration for its work to move this agreement across the finish line," Conaway said.

"Today's announced agreement that U.S. beef producers will have access to China's market, the world's largest, is a major achievement. The opening of this market is estimated to be worth $2.6 billion for the U.S. beef industry, and I applaud the Trump administration in negotiating this great deal which will benefit our nation's cattlemen, the agriculture community, and help grow our economy and create more jobs," Rouzer said.

–The Hagstrom Report