NCBA’s Kent Bacus Says Beef Exports Looking Great in 2022- But There’s Still Trade Challenges to Conquer

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, visited with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Senior Director of International Trade and Market Access, Kent Bacus, giving an international trade update.

“I think for us, we are very excited about the growth we have had in 2022,” Bacus said.

Bacus said we are seeing plenty of record export numbers.

“We have got a bit of a bidding war between China, Japan, and Korea over U.S. beef and that is driving a lot of this growth,” Bacus said. “You’ve got tight global supplies. You also have a great image of U.S. beef.”

Global consumers know they can trust the U.S. beef product, Bacus said, and they trust the people behind it.

“It’s a high-quality product, it’s a competitive product, and even with inflation and high prices, consumers are still making that choice and that preference for U.S. beef,” Bacus said. “Overall, we feel pretty good about most of the importers with the exception of one, and most of our concerns with Brazil are based on their commitments to international standards

When you look at other trade policies, Bacus said the European Union driving a lot of issues that are a little more difficult to quantify such as climate and antibiotic restrictions.

“A lot of things are coming out of their Farm-to-Fork program,” Bacus said. “These are all things we are paying very close attention to. The EU is trying to restrict imports even more, even though they have massive food shortages due to the ongoing security issues in Ukraine.”

Instead of looking to trade more with trusted partners, Bacus said the European Union is tightening access and doubling down on the production of plant-based protein.

“We are looking ahead, we are looking for new trade agreements, new opportunities and we would like to see a bilateral agreement with the United Kingdom,” Bacus said. “We think that trading with your trusted partners should be a priority. We need dependable trade partners, especially in this new world that we are in with supply chain disruptions and other geopolitical disturbances.”

Bacus said the NCBA is focusing on educating their grassroots so they can direct on how to engage in these trade policy issues.

“European Union uses the size of its economy to its advantage,” Bacus said. “The United States does that too, but we like to think that we are basing our trade standards off of objective science-based standards and really trying to have predictable rules of trade. We have a fundamental difference in how we view science and food production and technology and food production.”

As land becomes scarcer and the climate more vulnerable, Bacus said efficiencies in food production become more important.

“You can’t produce enough food to feed the world without advances in technology and without improvements in efficiency,” Bacus said.

While the United States is embracing the direction of advancing science in food production, Bacus said the European Union is taking a different approach.

“They are using punitive measures on other countries who don’t adopt the same approach,” Bacus said.

Click the LISTEN BAR below to listen to Ron Hays and NCBA’s Kent Bacus as he gives an international trade update.

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