U.S. pork ribs and beef brisket were among dishes sampled by Chinese importers, distributors and foodservice operators at SIAL China 2020, one of Asia's largest food trade shows. Typically held each spring, this year's show was moved to late September due to COVID-19. China's gradual recovery from the pandemic was evident, as more than 100,000 visitors attended the 2020 event.
With funding from the Texas Beef Council, the United Soybean Board, the Beef Checkoff Program and the National Pork Board, USMEF set up a large booth inside the USA Pavilion. Eight USMEF member companies coordinated with USMEF staff to display U.S. pork and beef cuts and meet with potential customers. While international buyers and exhibitors were fewer due to travel restrictions, USMEF's booth received a steady stream of domestic Chinese buyers interested in learning about U.S. pork and beef. USMEF staff working the show reported that China's demand for imported red meat remains high, with availability and favorable prices creating growing interest.
USMEF's presence and its promotion of U.S. pork and beef was especially important this year.
"Our participation in SIAL enhances the confidence the Chinese trade has in the U.S. red meat business, especially in the current environment," says Ming Liang, USMEF marketing director in China. "The U.S. industry's presence was notable due to the absence of some of our competitors, such as Meat and Livestock Australia. It's a very competitive market and shows like SIAL provide opportunities to meet new and potential customers and build relationships. U.S. beef and pork tasting sessions are very impactful as the China market begins to come back to life."
Jim Heller, Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, and Bobby Richey, Minister Counselor of Agricultural Affairs from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, joined other directors from the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office at the USMEF booth to participate in tasting sessions and discuss trade.