The US has finalised an agreement that will enable US companies to resume the shipment of beef products to China.

China banned beef imports from US in 2003 following a scare over mad cow disease.

According to the new requirements, producers will have to track the birthplace of cattle born in the US; and beef products should come from cattle aged less than 30 months.

The beef products exported to China should also not contain feed additives, growth promotants, chemical compounds such as ractopamine, which is banned in the country.

“It is a great day for the United States and in particular for our cattle producers, who will be regaining access to an enormous market with an ever-expanding middle-class.”

Due to an increased demand for protein-based diets, China has become a major purchaser of beef, with imports increasing from $275m in 2012 to $2.5bn last year.

USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said: “It is a great day for the United States and in particular for our cattle producers, who will be regaining access to an enormous market with an ever-expanding middle-class.”

These shipments are a result of the US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue co-chaired by Secretary Ross and Secretary Mnuchin for the US, as well as China's Vice-Premier Wang Yang.

The shipments will commence by mid-July, reported Reuters.

Earlier attempts by Washington to reopen the trade route for beef products to China failed.

The US is both the world's leading producer and exporter of beef, with its overseas sales surpassing $5.4bn last year.

Before the ban in 2003, the country was one of the largest exporters of beef to China.