Branstad excited about U.S. beef exports to China

(Photo: KHQA)

U.S. beef could soon be allowed into China by mid-July.

It's part of a larger developing trade agreement between both countries that would also allow fully cooked chicken from China into the U.S. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who is pending confirmation to become the next U.S. Ambassador to China, says it's a big deal.

"This is something we've wanted for years and years and years," he told reporters this week.

He has a plan.

"I intend to bring Iowa premium beef to China and I intend to serve it in the ambassador's residence and in the embassy," he said.

China has banned the import of American beef into their country for more than a decade. This came after a development of Mad Cow disease in 2003.

Matt Deppe with the Iowa Cattlemen's Association says this opens doors to a $2.5 billion market.

"We've been appreciative of the current administration connecting to President Xi Jinping," he said.

He says Iowa beef producers have been on the front lines pushing for access.

"The U.S. beef industry is always interested in placing our product on plates of the world," he said. "The Chinese market is very important to any type of ag commodity."

He says the goal over the years has been to let Chinese consumers know what's available.

"What we focus on is the safety of our product, the quality of our product," he said.

American beef won't immediately be served on plates in China, but the developments are leading to optimism in the Iowa agriculture industry.

"We will expect the Chinese government will do another round of audits, whether it's packer, purveyor or producer type audits," Deppe said.

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