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Meat Industry Views Chinese Import Rules as Positive First Step

Thursday, March 23, 2000
 

China's publication of rules governing American meat imports is a positive step in the right direction, but it does not amount to full implementation of the bilateral agreement on agriculture signed last year, meat industry groups said today.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the American Meat Institute (AMI) made the comments following notification from the Chinese government that the rules are in place. The groups noted that the rules only are one piece of a larger trade deal that must include congressional approval of permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with China to gain the full benefit of increased exports to that country.

According to the meat industry, the Chinese government's publication of meat import rules is welcome news, but it is only the first step, not the final chapter in this critical process for American meat producers.

The meat industry groups said they must withhold judgment on the practical impact of these rules until reports begin to arrive from Chinese ports. How widely these circulars have been disseminated to Chinese importers and Chinese port
inspectors and consequently, the extent to which the uncertainty surrounding the import requirements have been eliminated, will determine the true value of this agreement. Of course the real test will come when and if there is an uninterrupted flow of product to China.

The Bilateral Agreement on U.S.-China Agricultural Cooperation was signed in April 1999 and concerns sanitary and phytosanitary matters. Specifically, with respect to meat, China agreed to accept pork, beef, and poultry from any USDA-approved plant for importation and distribution to all end-users.

The meat industry groups, concerned that a delay in carrying out the agreement will have negative repercussions for the PNTR vote, have raised the issue repeatedly with the Chinese, as have U.S. trade officials.

The groups said that full and complete implementation of the bilateral agriculture agreement would create much-needed momentum for a positive congressional vote on granting China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status.

PNTR status would allow the other components of the larger trade deal to take effect, including a significant reduction in tariffs on meat imports and elimination of export subsidies.
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Initiated in 1898, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association is the trade association of America’s cattle farmers and ranchers,and the marketing organization for the largest segment of the nation’s food and fiber industry. NCBA is producer-directed but
consumer-focused, with offices in Denver, Chicago and Washington D.C.

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AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory and public relations services, conducts scientific and economic research, offers marketing and technical assistance and sponsors education
programs.
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The National Pork Producers Council, 122 C. Street NW, Suite 875, Washington, D.C. 20001

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The U.S. Meat Export Federation is a national trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. For its programs, USMEF receives funding and support from USDA, exporting companies and the beef, pork, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs. Headquartered in Denver, USMEF has offices in Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Mexico City and London. USMEF also has special market representatives covering China, the Middle East, South America, the former Soviet Union and the Caribbean.


For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
703-841-2400
jriley@meatinstitute.org
James Ratchford
Manager, Public Affairs
703-841-2400
jratchford@meatinstitute.org

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