SALEM, Ohio – Following Japan’s lead last month to open its border, Hong Kong also agreed to relax its ban on U.S. beef.
The announcement came Dec. 29 and trade should resume immediately.
There are still restrictions, however. Only boneless beef from cattle less than 30 months of age can be imported and each import must have prior written permission from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.
Hong Kong is a major market for U.S. beef, with exports totaling $90 billion in 2003.
After bovine spongiform encephalopathy was found in a Washington cow in late 2003, countries across the world closed their borders to U.S. beef.
Japan, the largest export consumer, resumed trade Dec. 12.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said Hong Kong’s announcement is just “one more step toward normalized international beef trade.”
The U.S. has now recovered access to markets valued at more than $2.8 billion. This is 74 percent of the 2003 export value of $3.9 billion, Johanns said.