How The U.S. Trade Deal With China Could Impact Idaho’s Beef Industry

Jun 14, 2017

The U.S. and China signed a trade deal Monday to open the Asian market to American beef. The Chinese market has been off-limits to American ranchers since 2003 after a mad cow disease scare.

Cameron Mulrony is with the Idaho Cattle Association, and says having exports to China is a big deal.  

“The Chinese is a growing market, it’s a large market," says Mulrony. "And those people are traveling and have the taste for U.S. beef so we’re hopefully optimistic that that in turn will give us a boost in our market.”

Just a few days after his inauguration, President Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement between the U.S. and almost a dozen other countries. Trump says instead, he favors deals with individual countries.

“He did choose to withdraw from TPP so these bilateral trade agreements are important." Mulrony says. "The Asian market has a lot of room for growth – not only in China but also Japan and South Korea.” 

The decision to lift the ban has been in the works since the Obama Administration. Previous Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the change was coming back in September.

“We knew at some point after President Trump had been to China, sometime between now and July we would get that access.”

Mulrony says the association would next like to have equal access to Japan, which now is dominated by Australian imports because of their lower tariff.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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