China’s recent agreement to consider buying U.S. beef again after a 13-year hiatus was welcome news to Iowa cattle raisers.

But there are still hurdles to overcome before high-quality U.S. beef begins flowing to the world’s most populous country, trade experts said. Indeed, a similar announcement was made in September 2016, but technical barriers kept the deal from being finalized and implemented.

"It’s a bit of a replay of what’s already happened," said David Salmonsen, senior director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation. "So now we’ll be very watchful and encouraging of the U.S. ministry, and hopefully they’ll get the proper documents exchanged and the proper certificates and trade can begin."

To start, the United States and China must first agree on the requirements, says Thad Lively, senior vice president for trade access for the U.S....