Chinese beef buyers race to get hands on American steak
China will allow beef imports from the United States starting from June 20, China's food quality watchdog said in a statement on Tuesday.
Boneless and bone-in beef from cattle under 30 months of age will be eligible for imports, according to the statement published on the website of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
Beef destined for China must be from cattle that can be traced to its birth farm, according to the statement.
Chinese meat importers are racing to get their hands on the first shipments of beef from the United States in 14 years, as strong demand for premium steaks continues to grow in the $2.6 billion beef import market.
China and the United States last week settled the conditions for American beef exports after the two sides agreed in May to resume the trade. Pent-up demand for U.S. meat could erode sales of Australian beef, China's current top supplier of premium steaks.
"We have ordered 56 to 58 tonnes of whole carcasses, which are expected to arrive by the end of July," said Chen Fugang, owner of Aoyang International, a Shanghai-based trading company.
Chen said he expects the product to be a hit in the Chinese market, where total beef sales grew around 4 percent last year to reach 5.9 million tonnes, according to Euromonitor.