Republican Senator Steve Daines hosted Chinese ambassador Chui Tiankai at a ranch near Belgrade today. The two were there to talk … cattle. In June, China lifted their 14 year-old ban on importing U.S. beef.
"As they say in China, a thousand mile journey begins the first step and we’ve taken some important steps here with removing the ban on U.S. beef imports. Our ranchers here will literally be shipping Montana cows here before the end of the year,” Daines says.
The meeting was a round-table event between the senator, the ambassador, members of the Chinese delegation and representatives from Montana cattle and grain associations.
In July, however, only a sliver of the U.S.'s total beef exports went to China, and the Chinese delegation says if Montanans want to sell more of their product there, they need to start marketing and branding their beef. Daines agreed.
"When the Chinese hear about the west, the cowboy, the pure air, the pure water, you think of Montana, Yellowstone Park, Glacier Park, and that’s something that can help brand something there for that Chinese consumer," he says.
In 2003, China banned the import of U.S. beef due to a case of mad cow disease in Washington state.