Beef Buzz News
USMEF President Dan Halstrom Calls US-Japan Deal Best Positive News in 2019 for AgricultureTue, 10 Dec 2019 14:01:06 CST
Word came this last week that we are in the final steps to get the U.S./Japanese partial trade deal across the finish line and implemented. The deal was cut by President Trump and Prime Minister Shinz? Abe. Dan Halstrom, President, and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation says this is excellent news, "I personally think this U.S./Japan agricultural agreement is probably the biggest positive thing that hit agriculture in 2019. This is a big deal in terms of getting us on a level playing field with our international competition. On the beef side, we are at 12.5/13% duty disadvantage to the Australians, to the Canadians, etc. On the pork side, we are also at a disadvantage on duty with season ground pork, processed pork products, and other items as well. This agreement will get us on a level playing field where we can compete, and we can excel in those segments we are focused on which is primarily the chilled beef programs and the chilled pork programs and also the processed pork that I mentioned earlier."
Halstrom said last year, Japan accounted for 3.7 billion dollars in export sales of beef and pork combined. He says they would like to grow that number closer to $5 billion in the next few years. It's not just the dollar amount, its also the profitability of the cuts that the Japanese prefer, "Not only is it good news in terms of the export quantity and export value, but keep in mind one of the largest margin opportunities for the industry is Japan. On a lot of fronts, this is really really good news."
Halstrom says that when the Trump administration backed out of the trans-pacific partnership, it was almost certain that we would start losing ground when it came to tariff rates to our major competitors, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and even Mexico. All these countries have a significant tariff advantage over U.S beef right now. Most recent U.S. meat export numbers through October showed about an 11% drop in U.S. beef exports compared to a year ago. We were down 2.5% for the year both on value and on the volume of U.S. beef overall. A big chunk of that is because we're falling behind in the Japanese Market.
As of January 1, we have the opportunity to catch back up and compete on a level playing field with quality of U.S beef in the Japanese market. Halstrom says its important to thank everyone that was a part of this deal to get U.S back on that level playing field, "USMEF and agricultural industry in general, we really need to thank the USTR and USDA because a lot of time and resources have gone to working on this deal with Japan. This is our largest value market by far for both beef and pork and the administration really has been working on behalf of agriculture in general and in the beef and pork producers in particular and Prime Minister Abe of Japan has been very very supportive of the Agricultural trade, and trade in general. Without a doubt, we need to capitalize on this opportunity where we have a very trade-friendly Administration in the Japan government."
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear the complete interview with Dan Halstrom as he talks more with Ron Hays.
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