China resumed beef imports from the United States on Thursday,
ending a two-and-a-half-year ban prompted by fears of mad cow
The import resumption applies to boneless cuts from US cows
under the age of 30 months, said the Ministry of Agriculture in a
statement posted on its website on Friday.
The ban was lifted with effect from Thursday. The General
Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine
the Chinese inspection authority will issue specific regulations
concerning restored imports, it said.
China, like many other nations such as Japan and the Republic of
Korea, closed its doors to US beef in December 2003, when the first
case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease, was
discovered in the United States.
In some cases, humans who have eaten beef have died from Variant
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a variant of BSE believed to come from
The United States has lobbied Asian countries to lift the ban,
which has been a boon to Australian beef producers.
Chinese and US officials met in May to discuss lifting the ban
as Washington was anxious not to be locked out of the growing
In 2003, before BSE was reported, the US exported 12,422 metric
tons of beef to China worth US$28.4 million.
In April, the Chinese Government announced its intention to lift
the ban on US beef imports. The US Department of Agriculture sent a
high-level negotiating team to China twice in efforts to get an
agreement on specific terms for US beef exports.
Vice-Premier Wu Yi, who led a trade delegation to the United
States in April, earlier said there would be conditions attached to
the resumption of US beef imports.
Japan announced in June that it may also soon lift its block on
(China Daily July 1, 2006)