At the Sam’s Club store in Beijing’s Shijingshan district, the chilled beef on offer is so dominated by Australian cuts — marbled rib eye steaks to fatty oxtail chunks — that many customers are oblivious to the few packs of U.S. meat available, reports Bloomberg and BEEF.
“I haven’t noticed the U.S. beef here,” said Hui Xue, who was shopping for steaks that he cooks once a week. Even if he had spotted the produce, it probably wouldn’t have gone into his cart. The American meat – back in China after 14 years as part of a trade deal hailed by the Donald Trump administration – was only available in little strips meant to be stir-fried rather than in larger hunks that can be sizzled on a cast-iron skillet.
Viveca Zhang, another shopper at the store, also bypassed the American supply. “I would like to try the U.S. beef, but there are only a few options to choose from,” she said.
Their reticence emphasizes the barriers that U.S. beef faces on its reentry into the world’s second-biggest consumer after being barred in 2003 due to concerns over mad cow disease. While the return prompted fanfare from the Trump administration and promises that shiploads of meat would start arriving at China’s shores, producers may have to endure a long slog back into the market. That’s because rivals from nations including Australia and Brazil rushed in to dominate sales when the Americans were shut out.
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