Formal Agreement with Japan Announced by White House Could Help Grow Island's Taste for TongueWed, 18 Sep 2019 11:05:50 CDT
Dan Halstrom, president and CEO of the US Meat Export Federation, participated in a recent trade mission to Japan, which incidentally is the No. 1 destination for US beef exports. According to Halstrom, one of the most popular products imported there are not the typical middle or end cuts, but rather a varietal meat - beef tongue specifically. In an interview with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, Halstrom remarked on the love affair Japanese consumers have with beef tongue and how that demand has benefitted the US beef industry.
“Asia in general, but Japan specifically, culturally has a real affinity for our variety meat products and beef tongue is a good example of that,” Halstrom explained. “It’s really about the texture and taste. They greatly prefer the grain-fed tongue out of the US. I think the younger animals compared to our competition makes it a real delicacy item in Japan.”
Halstrom attests that the popularity of tongue and other variety meat products in Japan and throughout Asia is extremely important and valuable to the American beef industry. While tongue for instance, has some value here in the US (approximately a dollar or less per pound), in Japan consumers are willing to pay upwards of $6 per pound. That alone adds tremendous value back to US beef producers, Halstrom says.
“The beauty of it is that from a value standpoint, they are willing to pay for it in excess of $6 per pound,” Halstrom remarked. “Which translates into about $12 to $14 a head for every tongue sent to Japan.”
And, while the US is currently at a disadvantage to its competitors being subject to higher tariff rates as a non-participant in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), he points out that demand still continues to grow. Variety meats to date are up 30% January through July of this year at 38,000 mt. To Halstom, that indicates that with a level playing field, US producers could enjoy even greater growth in this area. The announcement made earlier this week by the Trump Administration, formally establishing a new trade agreement with Japan is a good indicator that achieving a level playing field could be accomplished in the near future.
The White House notified Congress it will sign a trade agreement with Japan. President Donald Trump notified lawmakers he will enter an agreement on tariffs and digital trade with Japan, as the two sides wrap up the talks still this month. The White House published the notice Monday evening. Trump told lawmakers he is “pleased to report that my administration has reached an initial trade agreement.” The agreement is expected to be signed along the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month. The agreement does not need approval from Congress and can go into effect immediately. The agreement will mostly lower tariffs on U.S. ag products, to levels granted to other exporters to Japan in the CPTPP. The lower tariffs allow U.S. farmers to better compete in the Japanese market. Top US agricultural exports to Japan currently include beef, corn, pork, soybeans and wheat, totally $13 billion last year.
Listen to the full exchange between Halstrom and Hays about Japan’s affinity for beef tongue, 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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