Initial negotiations between the U.S. and China regarding beef exports have been favorable, according to a USDA under-secretary for farm and foreign agriculture services.

China will accept U.S. fresh, chilled beef products, as well as frozen. However, China will test all beef for residues upon entry, and there will be a distinction between synthetic and naturally occurring hormones. If traces of synthetic hormones are found the meat will be rejected. Traces of naturally occurring hormones such as Estradiol are found, the meat will be rejected if the levels are above those naturally occurring in cattle.

China has also agreed to amend their traceability requirements for U.S. beef. Under the proposal, China will only require the animals’ birth farm and slaughter plant to be documented. Producers interested in establishing eligibility to export beef to China must sign up for certification with any third-party certification program listed on USDA’s website. China will accept beef from animals 30 months of age or younger, a standard that the majority of U.S. fed cattle already meet.

The Chinese have also agree to recognize the equivalency of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service regarding plant eligibility to export. That means federally inspected U.S. plants are approved for export and will not be subject to a separate Chinese inspection.