WASHINGTON, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Nebraska officials have helped load the state's first shipment of beef to Shanghai, just two days after Washington reached agreements with Beijing on resuming U.S. beef exports, Nebraska governor's office confirmed to Xinhua on Thursday.
Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture director Greg Ibach on Wednesday joined Greater Omaha Packing President Henry Davis to load the first box of beef from the state destined for China, the governor's office said in a statement.
Greater Omaha Packing is among the first processors approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday to export beef to China, and the company has experience handling the product traceability that China requires, according to local media.
"Chinese officials toured our company's Omaha plant last fall to learn about our high international animal health and food safety standards and traceability and labeling protocols," said Davis. "We're excited to be shipping beef to China for the first time in 14 years."
As part of the U.S.-China 100-day plan to boost bilateral economic cooperation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday reached agreements with China on final details of a protocol to allow it to export beef to China.
China imposed a ban on U.S. beef in December 2003 after mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), was found in U.S. cattle. Before the ban, the United States was China's largest supplier of imported beef.
Access to the Chinese market allows Nebraska farmers and ranchers to sell our quality beef to more than 1.3 billion new customers, and this will help to grow our state for years to come, Ricketts said in a statement on Wednesday.
In an interview with Xinhua last month, Ricketts said he believes "there's tremendous opportunity for both Nebraskans and Chinese in developing that relationship further."
"China is our second biggest trading partner outside of North America and we exported over 1.2 billion (U.S.) dollars to China last year," he said, adding the rising standards of living in China "creates not only a great future for China but a huge opportunity for states like Nebraska to meet the needs of the Chinese people."
While the United States and China may have differences in terms of trade policies, Ricketts urged the two countries to foster mutually beneficial trade ties, "so that both countries can continue to see the prosperity that's been created by our trade relationship," he said.