Beef Buzz News
US Beef Exports Finding 2012 to be Tough in Several Key Markets
Fri, 25 May 2012 16:18:26 CDT
USMEF regional directors talk about beef export prospects.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation held its annual meeting recently in New Orleans. The federation uses Beef Checkoff dollars and funding from the USDA to promote beef exports overseas.
Several of the USMEF regional directors spoke about the prospects for progress in the export trade in their areas.
Joel Haggard, senior vice-president for the Asia-Pacific Region says there's some optimism about Japan, but there's a significant challenge in Korea.
"Everyone is anticipating new market access in Japan. I think Japan also experienced an increase in import demand the second half of last year, again, and that stabilized. They're still concerned over the safety of domestic product.
"On the beef side in Korea, it's an interesting story although the BSE episode created relatively little consumption impact in most of the Asian countries I would say in Korea it's been quite significant. U.S. beef sales in Korea have been quite weak."
John Brook, the representative for Europe, Russia, and the Middle East was far more optimistic.
"Beef in Russia is also performing well in the first quarter. Under the WTO agreement, the country-specific quotas remain, but the U.S. government was successful in negotiating a significant increase in the beef quota for the United States to 60,000 tons this year.
"We've got better market access in Europe now. The duty-free beef quota will be expanded on the 1st of August from its current 20,000 tons to 48,200 tons. I feel very confident that U.S. beef has made a very deep impression in Europe."
Chad Russell talks about Central America and Mexico. He says imports into Mexico have dropped tremendously, but he believes the export of feeder cattle into the U.S. will result in less Mexican beef competing in the marketplace in the near future.
"Beef is down this year 13 percent through March. We had a small uptick last year, but from the peak of 396,000 metric tons in 2008, which was a record level, we're down now to 257,000, I think that's a a decline of 35 percent. And again we're down this year so far as well. So, I guess the one bright spot, in terms of looking out a little bit into the future, is that because of this severe drought Mexicans have increased their slaughter of beef cattle last year by about five percent. They increased their exports of feeder cattle to the United States by 50 percent. They exported almost 1.9 million head of feeder cattle to the United States last year. There's going to be less Mexican beef in the marketplace today and into the future.
"Central America is a small market, but it's a dynamic market. For example on high quality beef cuts and offals, Panamanian duties go to zero upon implementation of the free-trade agreement with Panama."
You can hear the full comments made by the USMEF regional representatives by pressing the LISTEN BAR below.
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