U.S. Cattle Industry Rep Raises Concerns About China

US - China could become a major exporter of beef despite concerns over health and safety and government practices that restrict imports to China, a U.S. cattle industry spokesman told the federal International Trade Commission Thursday.
calendar icon 10 September 2007
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Eric Nelson, representing the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund/United Stock Growers of America, testified on how Chinese government practices and policies could affect U.S. agriculture, particularly beef and cattle. Nelson is chairman of R-CALF/USA's trade committee.

With reports of China using lead-based paint on toys and including deadly contaminants in pet food as a backdrop to the hearing, Nelson said China doesn't currently export much beef to the U.S., but its policies are, in effect, preparing China to become a major exporter, particularly since China is working to discourage the importation of beef to its consumers.

The ITC hearing Nelson attended was titled, "China: Description of Selected Government Practices and Policies Affecting Decision-Making in the Economy."

R-CALF/USA spokesman Shae Dodson said Nelson's message seemed to be well received on the same day President Bush met with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Sydney, Australia. The safety of Chinese exports came up during the 90-minute meeting, although Bush mostly emphasized religious and political freedoms. Bush, however, praised China's efforts to open its markets.

U.S. beef producers believe China needs to do more, however.

"The ITC was very interested in the China issue and was receptive to our concerns regarding the U.S. cattle industry," Dodson said.

Source: Capital Press

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