Beef Buzz News
Kent Bacus says NCBA is Committed to Promoting Trade to Benefit US Cattle ProducersThu, 19 May 2022 09:54:08 CDT
In today's Beef Buzz, Ron Hays, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, features comments with Kent Bacus, the Senior Director of International Trade and Market Access for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association about expectations for U.S. trade partners.
While the Biden administration is still getting their arms around any fresh trade negotiations, they continue to enforce existing trade deals that have already been done by the Trump administration and even as far back as the Obama administration.
Bacus believes the key for the cattle industry to receive open trade is rules that are easy to understand and easy to follow.
"We support science-based, market-based trade, which means we believe in objective rules that are clear and easy to understand and allow our producers to develop markets and not be subject to political winds that blow in different directions," Bacus said. "When you look at some of the recent developments that have happened, obviously there are a lot of disruptions in global supply chains. For a lot of other countries, their farmers and ranchers have seen probably harder times than what we have seen."
Bacus said he doesn't mean times have not been tough on producers in the U.S., but one of the benefits our producers have had is market access into some very important markets.
"So, with all the volatility we have seen over the last couple of years, one of the saving graces we have had is the fact that we had market access to China, to Japan, and to Korea, to export a lot of very important products that Americans aren't buying, and to help us maximize the total value of that carcass," Bacus said. "Even with all the ups and downs in Latin America, our sales have continued to grow there too."
Having export access has not only been important in helping us not be completely dependent on one market, Bacus said, but it has helped diversity that market and allowed us to market our beef in as many markets as possible, so we gain more competition for our products, which gives us a little more leverage.
"That is what cattle producers always want is greater leverage," Bacus said. "That has been a really important thing, but we have also seen a lot of issues around imports, access to imports and questions about some of the products coming into our country."
The United States is one of the most open markets in the world Bacus said, which means a lot of countries are able to sell their goods in the U.S. Meat is one of those items, Bacus added, where it is much more restricted because the sanitary and phytosanitary standards are so high.
"For any country to gain access to the U.S., it takes years for them to be able to do that," Bacus said. "So, that is why we only import meat from a handful of countries. Traditionally that has been Mexico, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
In recent years, Bacus said Brazil has entered into the mix, which has caused a bit of worry among cattle producers here in the U.S.
"It's not because we are worried about the competition, Bacus said. "We are worried about their reputation."
Brazil's reputation for not reporting animal health diseases in a timely manner, and the food safety issues they have been known to have are the reason they have been shut down in the past.
"NCBA has been actively engaged in making sure that our government holds all of our trade partners, including Brazil, at the same standard that we have," Bacus said. "It has to be that high standard."
Bacus said NCBA has asked USDA to reengage and to restrict or suspend Brazil's access to the U.S. until a thorough audit and investigation can be conducted.
"We need a complete top to bottom review of their whole system and it is not just on the animal health side but the food safety side too," Bacus said. "We need to make sure that anything that comes into this country is not going to jeopardize the reputation and the trust that we have developed with American consumers."
Click the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Kent Bacus on holding U.S. trade partners to a high standard for the good of the American consumer.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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