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China Takes Delivery of First Shipments of American Beef in 14 Years

BEIJING, June 23 (Reuters) - China let through the first shipments of beef from the United States in 14 years on Friday, after the two nations agreed to resume the trade in May, state media reported.

The imports were brought in by Cofco Meat Holdings Ltd from U.S. meat processor Tyson Foods Inc, China National Radio (CNR) reported on Friday, citing Beijing Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

China officially allowed U.S. beef imports from Tuesday this week after the two sides settled the conditions for exports last week.

Under the new rule, boneless and bone-in beef from cattle under 30 months of age will be eligible for imports. Beef destined for China must also be from cattle that can be traced to its birth farm, according to the rule.

Chinese importers are racing to bring in American beef to meet increasing demand for premium meat in the $2.6 billion beef import market.

Cofco's imports, the first to have landed in China, will be sold on Cofco's e-commerce platform, according to CNR.

Arrivals of U.S. beef could erode sales of Australian beef in China's lucrative premium meat market, as U.S. beef is expected to be cheaper because of low grain prices in the nation.

(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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