The Australian red meat industry sold record amounts of beef and goat meat to China in August. China imported 19 percent of Australia’s total red meat shipments, compared with 4 percent in August 2012.
Beef shipments totaled 16,192 metric tons including the product and packaging. Grain-fed beef sales to China totaled 2,259 tons, exceeding 2,000 metric tons for the first time. That export number is especially significant because U.S. export beef is grain-fed, in contrast to Australian beef, which is normally grass-fed.
U.S. beef producers have been locked out of China, the world’s largest consumer market, since December 2003, when a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was discovered in a cow in Washington state.
The U.S. industry has been pushing U.S. officials for market access, and the ban on U.S. beef has become a point of contention in U.S.-China trade relations.