USMEF's Phil Seng Takes 2015 U.S. Meat Exports in Stride, Good Things to Come in 2016Fri, 29 Jan 2016 18:45:24 CST
U.S. beef and pork exports had their challenges in 2015, but there was good news as well. One of the bright spots was the Korean market. U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Phil Seng credits the Korean Free Trade agreement that was put together four years ago. The U.S. now has a duty advantage over its competitors in that market. U.S beef exports to South Korea were up seven percent and that comes at a time with a limited supply of cattle and a strong U.S. dollar. U.S. beef exports also showed growth in Vietnam and Singapore.
ďAs we take a look at the world, there is the ups and downs, but for the most part it was positive in 2015, even though the numbers donít reflect that,Ē Seng said.
In December, repeal of the nationís mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) was signed into law by President Obama. That kept the U.S. from $1.01 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods in retaliation. Seng said repeal of COOL also helped the relationship between the three countries and will help trust longer term. Exports in 2015 to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) neighbors were slightly lower, but still show consistency from year to year. Seng was thankful thereís nothing else impeding exports, because these two countries account for about 40 percent of the nationís beef exports.
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed Seng at the Cattle Industry Convention in San Diego. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to the interview.
In looking at 2016, getting the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement signed will have a huge impact on U.S. meat exports, especially beef. Seng said reducing tariffs from 38 percent to nine percent in Japan will increase exports. While Japan has an aging population, he said this country has become a major tourist destination in attracting 20 million tourists last year. In one month, that equates to the loss in the Japanese population. Tourism is growing Japanís restaurant, hotel and food service outlets.
China looks to be a potential export market for U.S. beef in 2016. One of the key demands for that market looks to be the traceability of U.S. beef. Thatís a requirement that was put in place after a cow was discovered with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the U.S. in 2003, which led China to ban U.S. beef. Seng said traceability was one of the original 22 demands from the Chinese government. Nearly all the demands have gone away, except traceability. He said the U.S. is working to give the Chinese more assurances on the voluntary traceability system and he is hopeful the Chinese will come to the U.S. to look at packing plants and the record keeping process. Seng said China has been one of the fastest growing beef markets in the world over the last decade.
Hays and Seng also discuss efforts by the Oklahoma Beef Council and others to invest more checkoff funds for promotion in international markets to grow beef demand and also how USMEF continues to follow the changes occurring in the global marketplace.
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