The first shipments of U.S. beef are arriving in China, ending a 14-year ban. Chinese meat importers are racing to get their hands on it.
China has banned the import of U.S. beef since 2003, following a mad cow disease scare.
Beijing just agreed to resume trade last week. Now, Chinese consumers can enjoy U.S steak again.
China’s current top beef supplier is Australia. It will face some competition now that American meat is back in the game.
Despite the ban, American meat has a reputation for quality in China. It’s in high demand. Raising cattle in the United States is also cheaper, meaning beef can be sold for less.
China’s beef import market is growing fast as an expanding middle class spends more money eating out at restaurants, ramping up sales to nearly 6 million tons last year.
But U.S. beef won’t be widely available in China for now. China has strict import laws that U.S. producers must comply with if they want to access to the $2.6 billion market.