Iowa beef products could be reaching Chinese consumers by mid-July under a U.S.-Chinese trade agreement announced last week.
China imposed an embargo on U.S. beef after a case of Mad Cow disease in 2003.
At his weekly news conference, Branstad called lifting the embargo a “really big deal.”
“This is something we wanted for years and years,” Branstad said. “So I intend to bring Iowa premium beef to China and I intend to serve it in the ambassador’s residence and in the embassy.”
China agreed to lift the ban on U.S. beef last September, but it became part of a trade deal announced on Friday that also covers imports of Chinese poultry products.
Branstad said he’s glad the president of China is moving in the direction of free trade.
“They’re already consuming a lot of Iowa pork and soybeans but we think this is going to be a great thing,” Branstad said.
The infected cow exported in 2003 came from Canada but was imported to China from Washington State.
In the past four years, Chinese per capita consumption of beef has grown by 33 percent, according to a report in Beef Issues Quarterly.