Deanne Coffin, KPVI – For over a decade China has not allowed American beef to be imported into their country, until just recently when President Donald Trump’s administration secured a new agreement with the Chinese leaders.
KPVI spoke to former Chairman of the Republican Party for Idaho and candidate for Idaho Lieutenant Governor Steve Yates about why it took so long to get American been back into China and KPVI also spoke with people in the beef industry to see how this will impact them.
Beef is big business in Idaho. In fact it’s a 1.4 billion dollar industry and is one of the leading agricultural industries in the state.
The cattle business touches many Idahoans every day from ranchers to the processors.
“The United States seems to import beef from everywhere and it’s in direct competition with our local ranchers,” says Van Burtenshaw, Beef Rancher, Terreton.
In 2003 China banned the import of American beef, due to a case of ‘Mad Cow Disease.’
Several countries including China halted imports of beef from the U.S.
For most of those countries, it was temporary, but China held out for over a decade.
“China had used this as a pretext for protectionism for a very, very long time and it’s not based on scientific standards. It was not based on trade rules or internationally accepted norms, and really it just took a very long time for U.S negotiators to focus and beat down this barrier,” Steve Yates, Former Republican Chair and Candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
In June President Trump, along with U.S negotiators and his top level economic team secured an agreement with China to open their market back up to imports of U.S beef.
“Really what Trump did, is he campaigned very clearly on the re-balancing of the American trade relationships and the direction of fairness and so his top negotiators went in at a very high level, very focused to knock down this trade barrier and in a very short period of time were successful,” says Yates.