>> Soon to be on the dinner table in China, mouth watering US steak. Importers are racing to get their hands on the first beef shipments from America in 14 years after Beijing agreed to resume trade last week, ending a ban that's It's been in place since the mad cow disease scare in 2003.
As Dominique Patton explains from Beijing, US beef is making a comeback at just the right time.>> The growing middle class is spending more money on eating out and eating a lot more beef in western restaurants and also in local hot pot chains. China itself produces beef but it's not enough to meet all this new demand.
Producers here have struggled to increase output because cattle require more land and a lot of water, and those are both things that China doesn't have enough of.>> Beef sales in China hit nearly 6 million tonnes last year, and now that US meat is returning, China's current top supplier, Australia, is facing some stiff competition.
Despite the long beef ban, American meat has a reputation for quality in China, raising cattle in the US is also cheaper, meaning beef can be sold for less. But despite the pent up demand, it'll be all sizzle and no steak for a while, China's strict import laws mean many US producers are going to have to ring in some changes.
>> China bans any meat imports that have any residue of growth hormones in them, that includes one in particular that is quite widely used in the US. So, before exporters in the US can ship to China, they're going to have to make some changes to their production system.
>> Once that's done, though, it'll no doubt be a windfall for American cattle farmers, who are all ready eyeing up a stake in a $2.6 billion market.