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China starts beef imports from Hungary

SHANGHAI - China's first-ever shipment of imported beef from Hungary has arrived in Shanghai, local authorities said Saturday.

The 12 tons frozen beef from Hungary, valued at $70,600, is expected to be put into the market before the Chinese Lunar New Year that begins on Feb 8, said a joint press release from Shanghai Customs and Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

It said the shipment arrived at Shanghai's Yangshan Port Thursday and went through customs formalities Friday.

China banned imports of beef and related products from the European Union in 2001 amid scares of mad cow disease.

After thorough scrutiny and assessment of Hungary's cattle breeding, beef production and food safety management processes, China reached a frozen beef import deal with Hungary in 2014.

Last year, the two countries signed an MOU in the spirit of the Belt and Road Initiative, namely, the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

The document paved the way for Hungarian beef to enter China and the first beef trade pact was signed in October.

Chinese consumers have shown a growing demand for beef and mutton.

In Shanghai alone, nearly 170,000 tons, or 5.5 billion yuan worth of beef and mutton were imported last year, according to local customs.