WASHINGTON, May 23, 2014 ‑ The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) presented a positive outlook for U.S. meat exports, bringing more than 125 members and international buyers together during the organization’s board of directors meeting in Kansas City, Mo., this week.

In an audio recording, USMEF Chairman Mark Jagles, said the U.S. average export value per hog slaughtered in the first quarter of 2014 was more than $60, up 14 percent from a year ago. The average for U.S. beef per head for fed steers and heifers was nearly $225 per head, up 15 percent from a year ago.

“For both beef and pork the export value per head has never been higher than it is today,” Jagles said.

USMEF President Phil Seng said Mexico and Canada have been two of the most consistent markets for U.S. beef exports in the twenty years since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Beef exports are up 11 percent in volume since last year and 9 percent in value which is a “strong accomplishment.”

Seng said the picture is equally as bright with pork which is up 11 percent on volume and 11 percent on value. He also said USMEF is seeing growth in Central and South America, Japan and Asian market. Japan has become the leading beef value market with a 20 percent increase in the fourth quarter.

“I think it’s a testament that when we do trade agreements, and when we do the free trade agreements right, it can be beneficial to the industry long term,” Jagles said.

Chad Russell, USMEF regional director of Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, said all products from cattle of any age can now enter Mexico unrestricted. Russell said U.S. beef imports to Mexico are up 22 percent from March.

Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president of Asia Pacific, said the U.S. is expected to enter the Chinese beef market next year where imports increased globally 375 percent from 2012. Haggard said despite EU competition the U.S. has done well in first quarter pork exports to China.

John Brook, USMEF regional director of Europe, Russia and the Middle East, said he does not anticipate any further development in beef exports to Russia. Since February 2013 U.S. beef exports to Russia have been banned due to synthetic hormone use, and Brook said there have been no discussions between the U.S. and Russia to resolve the issue.  

The U.S. is among 12 counties trying to create a free trade zone with 40 percent of the world economy in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which will meet again in July with a heightened concentration on relations between the U.S. and Japan. Stalemates remain regarding GMO and growth hormone polices. Seng said he expects a meaningful outcome to the beef and pork industries from negotiations.


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