China has lifted a longstanding import ban on beef from Italy, officials said earlier this month, paving the way for Florentine steak and other specialities to enter kitchens in China for the first time in 16 years.
Italian beef exports will be allowed to return to China as soon as the two countries agree a protocol establishing the health and safety requirements, Italy’s ministry of agriculture announced.
Beijing banned beef imports from Italy in 2001, citing safety concerns. Its decision to reconsider follows a visit by officials from China in September to inspect Italian meat production facilities, as well as months of lobbying by Italy’s agricultural authorities.
“After 16 years we’ll export quality Italian beef to China again,” said Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina. “After the end of the ban on pork last year and on oranges in early 2017, we have overcome another historic hurdle.”