How Phase One trade is stacking up in 2021, in terms of U.S. beef

New data shows how China is stacking up on the Phase One trade deal in the first months of 2021.

Purchases are strong with U.S. exports at more than $10 billion dollars. That puts China at 25 percent of this year’s goal. The country has agreed to buy $40 billion dollars in U.S. ag products.

It is a large increase from last year’s commitment of $33 billion dollars, which it missed by $6 billion.

A Farm Bureau economist says that the lofty goal is possible.

We have heard about growing pork exports to China in the wake of African swine fever, but U.S. beef is also finding a bigger share of the market.

Total U.S. beef exports to China are at 41,500 metric tons so far this year, a whopping 1,343 percent increase over the same time last year. Min Liang, U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Marketing Director for China, says that sales to restaurants and food services are picking back up too now that life in China is returning to normal.

According to Liang, “Overall growth in foodservice remains strong, consumers are not shy to pay a little bit more to get better quality U.S. beef. A large portion of U.S. beef is distributed through the foodservice sector directly or indirectly from the wholesale and has been the most important sales channel for U.S. beef.”

USMEF is providing training videos to attract more chefs to U.S. beef.

“China is a vast country. In order to reach a wider business audience, we developed a series of long-range educational videos to teach chefs, professionals how to trim and add value to prime U.S. beef cuts,” he explains.

He says that they also host events for some of the top, trending chefs in China, including Michelin Star-rated restaurants: “The results exceeded our expectations in many ways. Not only did they put U.S. beef on the menu, but they also started to become ambassadors for U.S. beef in their industry. Over 200 dealers will watch the program.”

While the majority of U.S. beef products for Chinese consumers are frozen, Liang says that he is working with large retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club to promote chilled beef sales.

“We are allocating more resources to grow the chilled, U.S. beef business even bigger, which comes with in-store technical assistance, in-store promotion including customer tastings, joined with social media events which maximize promotions and brand equity,” he adds.

After COVID-19, USMEF hopes to host Chinese wholesale buyers here in the United States to visit farms and experience high-quality beef production first-hand.


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