China Holds Potential to Increase US Beef Exports by $4 Billion - Provided Trade Negotiations Go WellFri, 01 Feb 2019 09:31:39 CST
At the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans this week, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays had the chance to catch up with Kent Bacus, director of international trade and market access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. During their conversation, Bacus addressed the status of the ongoing negotiations between the US and China which he hopes will eventually result in China granting the US beef industry broader access to their market. According to Bacus, China represents tremendous opportunity for the US beef industry, as home to one-fifth of the entire world population and a middle class that is larger than the entire US population. However, China’s restrictive laws and regulations pertaining to the importation of beef continue to limit the US beef industry’s ability to meet the nation’s growing demand for high-quality beef.
“Right now it’s really tough for us to sell a lot of beef into China. Tariffs aside, even with the massive tariff increases they placed on us, all the restrictions we have makes it really difficult to produce enough beef to meet demand in the Chinese market,” Bacus said, adding that China is quickly becoming the world’s largest importer of beef, accepting record quantities of product from places like Brazil and New Zealand. “We know our product is better. It’s a higher quality product. We want to displace what little grain fed beef that is in that market with high-quality US beef - and we think we can.”
However, before that happens, Bacus says China will have to relax its policies. At least for US beef, which he contends is widely know and regarded as a safe product, suggesting that China’s overly cautious restrictions are unnecessary in its relationship with the US beef industry. While it is uncertain at this time what these negotiations will accomplish, if anything, Bacus says the US Meat Export Federation estimates that the US beef industry could stand to export up to $4 billion worth of product to China in just five years, given improved access.
“That’s just in the Chinese market. If you look at 2018, exports are probably going to be around $8 billion. So, we’re looking at a tremendous opportunity for the industry,” he said. “But, in order to get there, there’s going to have to be some changes in Chinese law and Chinese regulatory practices - and that’s a heavy lift.”
Listen to Bacus and Hays discuss the current status of trade negotiations ongoing with China, as well as Japan, and the impact possible trade pacts could have on the US beef industry, on today’s Beef Buzz.
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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