CHINA's 12-year block on US beef exports has left president of the US Meat Export Federation, Philip Seng, warning that the United States is rapidly falling behind its competitors. The ban followed the discovery of a cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as mad cow disease, in the US in 2003.
"For several years thereafter, China was not a large importer of beef. But that changed dramatically in 2012, when beef import demand in China surged due to strong economic growth and a sharp decline in domestic production," Mr Seng was cited as stating in a release from the federation.
"China now imports more beef every month than it did in an entire calendar year in 2011. In the first half of this year, imports totaled nearly US$910 million, up 28 per cent from a year ago."
"While the US industry remains on the sidelines, Australia, Uruguay, New Zealand, Argentina and Canada are all gaining a strong foothold in China. Being shut out of the Chinese market also affects the prices US beef cuts command in other Asian destinations, as China has begun to exert significant influence on global beef trade," he said.
"For the US beef industry, the lost opportunity due to our lack of access to China is currently estimated at more than $100 per head," he added.
While not totally cut off, US pork has suffered similar setbacks in China due to the industry's use of ractopamine, a feed additive that promotes leanness in animals raised for their meat.
"Similar to the beef complex, China has no lack of suitors who want a piece of its imported pork market. In addition to the EU, Canada and Chile compete aggressively in China, and Mexican pork is a recent entrant into the market."
Source : HKSG.