Tag Archives: Pork

The U.S. Meat Export Federation host’s their annual Strategic Planning Conference every November.

The meeting agenda is full of timely and informative topics. Wednesday’s opening general session will focus on the nexus of productivity, technology and sustainability. Thursday’s session will address the alternative protein arena. We have all seen and heard the hype and news coverage of these products, but how are they impacting our export markets? Hear about the expected near-term ramifications, future demand, trends and impacts on the red meat industry. Friday’s session will focus on U.S.-Asia trade relations, including an update on market access in Japan and China and the potential for future trade agreements with emerging Asian trading partners.

In addition to the general sessions, the Beef, Pork, Exporter and Feedgrain/Oilseed breakouts will provide in-depth discussion on topics relevant to each sector.  Registrants are welcome and encouraged to participate in all breakouts regardless of membership sector.

Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO.  He says he is upbeat on exports…

When looking at Japan, Halstrom says he is looking beyond 2020…

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Joel Haggard is USMEF senior vice president, Asia Pacific.  He talks on the impact of African Swine Fever…

Haggard says there is a global strain to supply protein that is needed in feeding China…

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Nebraska Corn Board Member Adam Grabenstein talks about a general session discussion on sustainability…

This is his first meeting of the USMEF & Adam Grabenstein said there was a lot of information to bring back to Nebraska…

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 7, 2019 – Today, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) launched a dynamic new campaign, “It’s Pork O’ Clock Somewhere,” to highlight the importance and benefits of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement. The campaign focuses on pork and the many ways it’s enjoyed across North America.

AUDIO NPPC’s Rachel Gantz

 

“Ratification of USMCA is the top priority for U.S. pork producers and there is no better way to highlight its importance than a campaign that illustrates how pork is enjoyed across United States, Canada and Mexico,” said David Herring, NPPC president and a pork producer in Lillington, N.C. “A USMCA agreement provides much-needed market certainty for U.S. pork producers, ensuring zero-duty market access to two of our largest export markets.”

Last year, more than 40 percent of U.S. pork exported went to Canada and Mexico. The campaign thanks lawmakers for making USMCA ratification this year a priority and highlights the history behind pork-related dishes in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

For example, tacos al pastor from Mexico have origins in the Lebanese method of cooking meat on a spit, referred to as shawarma. The tacos are a staple in Mexico City, where taco shops and stands line the streets. Last year, the United States sent more than 770,000 tons—worth $1.3 billion—of pork to Mexico.

To learn more about NPPC’s campaign, visit www.porkoclock.org.

 

September exports of U.S. beef were steady with last year in volume but export value trended lower, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports were above year-ago levels in September but pulled back from the large totals posted in June, July and August.

September beef exports totaled 109,799 metric tons (mt), essentially even with last year, valued at $661.3 million (down 4%). Through the first three quarters of the year, beef exports were 2% below last year’s record pace in both volume (991,325 mt) and value ($6.1 billion).

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $318.54 in September, up significantly from the previous month but still 5% below last year. The January-September average was down 3% to $310.77. September exports accounted for 14.6% of total U.S. beef production and 11.9% for muscle cuts only, down from 14.8% and 12.4%, respectively, last year. Through the first three quarters of the year, exports accounted for 14.3% of total beef production and 11.6% for muscle cuts, down from 14.6% and 12.1%, respectively, in 2018.

September pork exports increased 13% from a year ago in both volume (202,248 mt) and value ($532.2 million). These results pushed January-September export volume 5% ahead of last year’s pace at 1.9 million mt, while value increased 2% to $4.89 billion.

Pork export value averaged $49.98 per head slaughtered in September, up 3% from a year ago. For January through September, the per-head average was down 2% to $51.50. September exports accounted for 25.1% of total U.S. pork production, slightly higher than a year ago, and 21.7% for muscle cuts only (down slightly). January-September exports accounted for 26.3% of total pork production and 22.8% for muscle cuts, both up slightly from a year ago.

“While red meat exports face obstacles in some key markets, global demand dynamics are strong and we see opportunities for significant growth in the fourth quarter and into 2020,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Progress is being made on market access improvements and this makes for a very positive outlook going forward.”

Beef export trend to Japan highlights need for tariff relief

Beef exports to leading market Japan continue to reflect the tariff rate gap between U.S. beef and its competitors. September exports were 14% below last year in both volume (24,041 mt) and value ($148.3 million). For the first three quarters of the year, exports to Japan were 4% below last year’s pace in volume (241,739 mt) and 5% lower in value ($1.51 billion). The decline was steeper for beef muscle cuts, which were down 10% in volume to 192,676 mt, valued at $1.22 billion (down 9%). Beef variety meat exports to Japan (mainly tongues and skirts) have been a bright spot in 2019, increasing 26% in volume (49,063 mt) and 15% in value ($290.8 million). While these items also face higher tariffs compared to competitors’ products, the rate is 12.8% versus 38.5% for U.S. muscle cuts.

“Japan is still delivering excellent value for U.S. beef producers, but tariff relief cannot come soon enough,” Halstrom explained, referring to the recently signed U.S.-Japan trade agreement, which is being discussed and considered for approval by the Japanese Parliament. “With a level playing field, the U.S. beef industry will move a wider range of products to our loyal customers in Japan and will definitely capitalize on emerging growth opportunities.”

Beef exports to South Korea continue to build on last year’s record performance, as September exports climbed 11% from a year ago in volume (21,267 mt) and 6% in value ($151.6 million). For January through September, exports reached 195,557 mt (up 8%) valued at $1.36 billion (up 10%). Korea surpassed Japan as the top value market for U.S. beef muscle cuts, reaching $1.36 billion through September (up 10% year-over-year). Muscle cut volume to Korea increased 9% to 185,288 mt. Korean customs data (January through October) indicate U.S. beef accounts for 56% of Korea’s beef imports this year, up from 53% last year.

Fueled by strong demand for variety meat, September beef exports to Mexico were slightly above last year in volume (19,464 mt) and 2% higher in value ($91.2 million). Through the first three quarters of the year, exports to Mexico reached 175,992 mt, down 1% from a year ago, while value increased 5% to $820.7 million. Mexico is the leading destination for beef variety meat, and September was an especially strong month, as variety meat exports climbed 26% from a year ago in volume (9,018 mt) and 51% in value ($26.4 million). While January-September variety meat exports were steady year-over-year in volume (71,522 mt), value jumped 16% to $192.5 million.

January-September highlights for U.S. beef include:

  • Beef exports to Taiwan remain well ahead of last year’s record pace, climbing 10% in volume (47,868 mt) and 6% in value ($427.3 million). In just nine months, exports to Taiwan have already surpassed all full-year totals posted before 2018.
  • Led by impressive growth in Indonesia, beef exports to the ASEAN region were 31% ahead of last year’s pace in volume (44,481 mt) and 15% higher in value ($214.5 million). Exports to Indonesia soared 74% in volume (16,984 mt) and were 42% higher in value ($60.5 million). Demand for beef variety meat increased at an even more rapid pace in Indonesia, jumping 83% in volume (9,207 mt) and 78% in value ($18.4 million).
  • Strong September results in Central America pushed beef exports 8% above last year’s pace in volume (11,351 mt) and 13% higher in value ($64.6 million), led by strong growth in Guatemala and Panama.
  • Although volume slowed in September, beef exports to the Dominican Republic remained on a record pace, increasing 39% from a year ago in volume (6,594 mt) and 32% in value ($53.2 million).

Rebuilding effort continues for U.S. pork in Mexico; exports to China/Hong Kong moderate

Since Mexico removed its 20% retaliatory duty on U.S. pork in late May, exports have rebounded significantly but not yet to the record-large, pre-tariff levels posted in 2017 and early 2018. September exports to Mexico were down 1% year-over-year in volume (56,467 mt), but value increased 7% to $97.6 million. Through the first three quarters of the year, exports were down 10% in volume (529,776 mt) and 9% in value ($919.4 million).

“Although the U.S. industry has made rebuilding pork demand in Mexico a top priority, there is definitely a lingering effect from the retaliatory duties, which were in place for nearly a full year,” Halstrom said. “While it is a great relief to once again move pork to Mexico duty-free, ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement would certainly help the psychology of the market and bolster our major customers’ confidence in the U.S. supply chain.”

Although dramatically higher than a year ago, September pork exports to China/Hong Kong pulled back from the large totals posted over the previous two months as China’s domestic pork supplies felt increasing pressure from African swine fever (ASF). September volume was 51,192 mt, up 158% from a year ago, while value increased 123% to $115.6 million. For January through September, exports to China/Hong Kong were up 47% in volume (407,514 mt) and 25% in value ($833.5 million).

“Obviously we are anxious to learn the details of the phase 1 agreement between the U.S. and China and hopeful that it removes obstacles for U.S. pork,” Halstrom said. “Exports to China/Hong Kong are improving, but certainly not to the level that could be achieved if U.S. pork returned to normal tariff levels and if the U.S.-China agreement addresses non-tariff barriers as well.”

The U.S. pork industry stands to benefit significantly from the U.S.-Japan trade agreement, which will bring tariffs on U.S. pork in line with those imposed on major competitors such as Canada and the European Union. Japan remains the leading value destination for U.S. pork, but September volume was down 8% to 27,812 mt and value fell 5% to $116.2 million. Through September, exports to Japan trailed last year’s pace by 6% in both volume (278,352 mt) and value ($1.14 billion).

January-September highlights for U.S. pork include:

  • While September exports slowed to mainstay market Colombia and to the region as a whole, pork exports to South America were still 24% above last year’s record pace in volume (114,535 mt) and 26% higher in value ($287.9 million). Chile has been South America’s growth pacesetter in 2019, with exports climbing 60% in volume (33,992 mt) and 53% in value ($97.6 million). The U.S. is now Chile’s largest pork supplier and opportunities continue to expand as more Chilean pork is exported to China.
  • A strong September performance pushed pork exports to Central America 16% above last year’s record pace in volume (67,982 mt) and 19% higher in value ($165.1 million). Exports trended higher to Honduras, the largest Central American destination for U.S. pork, and Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua have achieved excellent growth in 2019.
  • Exports to Oceania continue to reach new heights, climbing 37% from a year ago in volume (85,557 mt) and 33% in value ($243 million), with impressive growth in both Australia and New Zealand.
  • While ASF has impacted pork production in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam but more recently spreading into the Philippines, lower domestic prices have affected the ASEAN region’s demand for imports. U.S. shipments to the ASEAN dropped sharply in September and through the third quarter trailed last year’s pace by 15% in volume (41,905 mt) and 23% in value ($95 million). However, pork and hog prices have started to trend higher in Vietnam, and the European Union’s pork exports to Vietnam were record-large in August, suggesting potential for larger U.S. exports in coming months.

September lamb exports trend higher

Exports of U.S. lamb increased 22% year-over-year in September to 1,435 mt, while value improved 9% to $1.77 million. Through the first three quarters of the year, exports were 31% above last year’s pace at 12,061 mt, while value increased 13% to $19.3 million. Lamb muscle cut exports were 9% lower than a year ago in volume (1,652 mt) but increased 2% in value ($10.2 million). Markets showing promising muscle cut growth included the Dominican Republic, Panama and Guatemala.

Complete January-September export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available from USMEF’s statistics Web page.

Monthly charts for U.S. pork and beef exports are also available online.

If you have questions, please contact Joe Schuele at jschuele@usmef.org or call 303-547-0030.

NOTES:

  • Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
  • One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.
  • U.S. pork currently faces retaliatory duties in China. China’s duty rate on frozen pork muscle cuts and variety meat increased from 12 to 37% in April 2018, from 37 to 62% in July 2018 and from 62 to 72% on Sept. 1, 2019. Mexico’s duty rate on pork muscle cuts increased from zero to 10% in June 2018 and jumped to 20% the following month. Beginning in June 2018, Mexico also imposed a 15% duty on sausages and a 20% duty on some prepared hams. Mexico’s duties were removed in May 2019 but were in effect for much of the period reported above.
  • U.S. beef faces retaliatory duties in China. China’s duty rate on beef muscle cuts and variety meats increased from 12 to 37% in July 2018 and from 37 to 47% on Sept. 1, 2019. Canada imposed a 10% duty in July 2018 that applied to HS 160250 cooked/prepared beef products. Canada’s duty was removed in May 2019 but was in effect for much of the period reported above.
 

 

Meat processing has come a long way since the early 1900s, when packing plants were graphically depicted in Upton Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle. Since that time, meat inspectors, safety precautions for workers, the use of better technology and higher food-safety standards have arguably made the U.S. food supply the safest in the world. However, there is always room for improvement, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) intends to propose new, voluntary performance standards for pork.

The final rule for the Modernized Hog Slaughter Plan was published October 1, and one of its goals is to align hog slaughter inspection with hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) principles. It will also allow market hog slaughter establishments to operation under the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS). 

Under the plan, all swine slaughter establishments must develop written sanitary dressing plans and implement microbial sampling to monitor process control. Pork sampling will increase in FY2020 and inspectors will stop testing for STEC. However, FSIS will partner with Agricultural Research Service to study STEC in pork. 

“Modernization moves inspection away from the traditional control and command approach,” said Captain Kis Robertson Hale, DVM, with the U.S. Public Health Service post at FSIS, during the 2019 annual meeting of the U.S. Animal Health Association this week. Hale explained that under the new rule, plant employees will do two points of sampling, one at the beginning and one at the end, giving plants the options for indicator product sampling.

The biggest thing that has been a source of question is the new swine inspection system. 

NSIS requirements for sorting state that establishment personnel are responsible for sorting and removing unfit animals before ante mortem inspection, as well as for identifying and trimming defects on carcasses and parts before postmortem inspection. FSIS will continue to do all the inspections it has done in the past, but sorting will be the responsibility of establishment personnel. 

“It shifts agency resources so we can do inspections more efficiently,” Hale said.

Establishment personal will be responsible for: Identifying with a unique tag, tattoo, or similar device animals or carcasses that have been sorted or removed for disposal prior to inspection, and; developing, implementing and maintaining written procedures in its HACCP system to ensure unfit animals or carcasses are properly disposed.

Plants will determine line speed
The new standard authorizes establishments to determine their own line speeds based on their ability to maintain process control. This area has received a lot of attention, Hale said, but the important point is the plant’s ability to maintain process control. 

“There is still 100% carcass-by-carcass inspection so it isn’t practical to have excessively high speeds. However, inspectors are empowered to slow the lines,” Hale said.

“Back in the day, the speed was set on what food inspectors needed to conduct their tasks. Since then, advancements in science and technology have refined our understanding about line speed requirements. We are still very much focused on hazard reduction,” she added.

Under NSIS, inspectors will be able to conduct more verification tasks that are associated with better food-safety outcomes.

“Science has been the driving force of where we are with pork sampling and slaughter inspection. By increasing industry accountability for pathogen reduction, improvements to food safety are expected,” Hale said. “It’s amazing how many illnesses have been averted by going with a HAACP approach.”

The USAHA covers topics ranging from zoonotic diseases, to regulations, to specific diseases in cattle, horses, sheep, cervids, poultry and pigs, and much more. Leaders from government, industry and academia gather alongside producers to find solutions to health issues that can help animal agriculture thrive. 

The U.S. and China are on track to sign the phase one trade agreement next month. President Donald Trump this week stated the negotiations are running “ahead of schedule.” The South China Morning Post reports Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set for a November 17 meeting in Chile to sign the interim trade deal.

Trump says the agreement would “take care of the farmers,” among other things, including banking provisions. A spokesperson from China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed the progress, saying, “the two sides made substantial progress” in recent talks. Top-level negotiators met over the phone last Friday and will again very soon.

The agreement includes an estimated $40-$50 billion of agricultural purchases by China over a two-year period, with $20 billion possible the first year. Market analysts say agricultural trade with China appears to be starting to normalize, ahead of the agreement.

In 2017, before the trade war began, the U.S. shipped $19.5 billion worth of agricultural products to China. However, the trade war cut those exports in half.

A new environmental study has found that pig farms are generating less manure nutrient content associated with odor. Data gathered from more than 106,000 samples at 182 North Carolina farms shows significant reductions in ammonia levels and manure nutrient content. The improvements are attributed to gains in feed efficiency, which means it takes less feed to raise a pig.

“For an industry that is continually striving to become more sustainable, this study shows that pig farmers are making significant progress toward reducing the environmental impact of their farms,” said Lowry Harper, president of Harper Consulting, who conducted the study from decades-long data.

The study, funded by the Pork Checkoff and conducted by Harper Consulting in consultation with Southern Utah University, found that North Carolina pig farmers have significantly increased feed efficiency over the past 17 years. Long-term, continuous improvement has resulted in trending reductions in nutrient content in manure lagoons at the farms. Specifically, data gathered from more than 106,000 samples at the 182 participating North Carolina pig farms showed a reduction of 35% to 78% in the nutrient content from hog finishers in primary lagoons, and a reduction of 17% to 68% in primary lagoons for sow farms. Also, the study showed a reduction of 22% to 54% in ammonia levels.

The analysis showed considerable improvements in pig farms’ nutrient output, with major decreases in all nutrient concentrations, except for copper which is an essential dietary nutrient. The modeling conducted suggested decreased emissions, including ammonia.

While the study looked at North Carolina farms, the findings can likely be replicated throughout the country as U.S. pig farmers adopt better genetics and target nutrition and greater veterinary care.

The environmental study shows hog farms’ contributions to nutrient levels and ammonia emissions have declined significantly over the last two decades. Other activity – increasing human population and growth in associated emission sources like automobiles, industry and human waste processing – has likely contributed to a general increase in ammonia emissions in the state.

The study also found that “advancements in swine production practices, changes in feed formulation, improved swine genetics, reduced nutrient excretion and other management changes have resulted in reduced nutrients in both primary and secondary lagoons.”

“U.S. pig farmers have a great story of sustainability to share, and this study validates it,” said Jan Archer, a pig farmer from Goldsboro, North Carolina. “Farmers have always been good stewards of the environment, and we are proud of the continuous improvement and innovative practices on our farms. As a pig farmer in the second-largest pork producing state in the country, I am proud of our record and believe these sustainability gains are being replicated by many of my fellow farmers in other states.”

A research summary of the environmental study is here and also online at pork.org here.

 

Agriculture is hoping sees momentum building for more trade deals, after President Trump signed a $55 billion dollar trade agreement with Japan Monday.

The American Farm Bureau Federation says it hopes momentum from the Japan deal that lowers or ends tariffs on U.S beef, pork, poultry, corn, wheat, almonds, wine, ethanol and other ag goods, sets the stage for similar deals with other nations.

President Trump says China is key…

Especially U.S. soybeans, possibly a ‘sweetener’ by the Chinese, as a delegation arrives here Thursday for renewed talks.

Trump meantime, is leaning on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, amid the political drama over Democratic impeachment efforts, to allow the US Mexico-Canada Agreement to come up for a House vote…

Pelosi earlier charged it was up to Trump to make concessions on USMCA enforcement language, while Republicans counter Democrats have slow-walked the deal worth billions for US Ag, since last December.

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after President Trump signed the official text of new trade agreements with Japan:

“This agreement between the U.S. and Japan is a victory for Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and ethanol producers. By securing reduced tariffs on a variety of exports like beef, pork and ethanol, this agreement expands markets for Nebraska’s great ag products. I appreciate the administration’s hard work on this deal, and look forward to continuing to work with the president toward additional trade agreements.”

Under these trade agreements, Japan will eliminate or lower tariffs on American beef, pork, wheat, ethanol, and more, as well as expand digital trade between the two countries.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President:

“The trade deal with Japan formally signed today by President Trump makes good on his promise to strike an agreement with one of Nebraska’s most important trading partners. This deal represents a huge win for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families. When implemented it will put them on a level playing field with some of our largest competitors that are currently participating in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP). More specifically, Nebraska’s beef, pork, dairy, and ethanol producers, will all greatly benefit from this agreement which significantly reduces or eliminates tariffs and increases overall market access to this important strategic ally and trading partner. We are hopeful this agreement will provide a long-term economic boost and is a sign of more good things to come on the trade front.”

NCGA President Kevin Ross
Japan is the number two buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing more than $2 billion in the most recent marketing year. This is a high value market for our livestock industry, therefore, also a major purchaser of U.S. corn through exported meats. NCGA has been a long-time supporter of trade with Japan. With many farmers struggling amid some challenging times, this is some much-needed good news. This agreement reaffirms and builds on our trading relationship with Japan and NCGA looks forward to continued work for a successful Phase 2 of these important negotiations.”

 

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston

“I was deeply honored to attend the ceremony at the White House where we celebrated a bilateral trade agreement with Japan. As the top market for U.S. beef exports, Japan accounts for one quarter of our exports and roughly $2 billion in annual sales. As a beef producer, I understand the value of exports to my bottom line, and President Trump understands that increased access to foreign markets like Japan is the economic stimulus we need. We are grateful for President Trump’s leadership and for the hard work of our trade negotiators who fought hard to strengthen our access to the Japanese market. Because of their efforts, future generations of American ranching families will benefit from trade with Japan.”

Houston hailed today’s announcement as an important step forward for the U.S. beef industry.

“For the past few years, U.S. beef producers have benefited greatly from growing demand for U.S. beef in Japan. While Japanese consumers enjoy high quality U.S. beef, they unfortunately pay a higher price for U.S. beef due to the massive 38.5 percent tariff. Removing that tariff allows more Japanese consumers to enjoy more U.S. beef at a more competitive price. Today’s announcement is welcome news for American families who produce U.S. beef and Japanese families who purchase it.”

 

U.S. pork exports continued to post very strong results in August, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), while beef exports were below the record-large totals of August 2018.

August pork exports increased 22% from a year ago to 221,586 metric tons (mt), while export value climbed 19% to $588.8 million. These results pushed January-August export volume 4% ahead of last year’s pace at 1.7 million mt, while value increased 1% to $4.35 billion.

Pork export value averaged $54.18 per head slaughtered in August, up 22% from a year ago. For January through August, the per-head average was down 2% to $51.70. August exports accounted for 27.1% of total U.S. pork production and 23.7% for muscle cuts only, up significantly from a year ago (21.9% and 19.2%, respectively). January-August exports accounted for 26.4% of total pork production and 23% for muscle cuts, both up slightly year-over-year.

August beef exports totaled 114,119 mt, a 4% decline from last year’s large volume, while export value ($690.3 million) was down 8%. January-August beef exports were slightly below last year’s record pace, declining 2% in volume (881,526 mt) and 1% in value ($5.44 billion).

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $298.94 in August, down 7% from a year ago, while the January-August average was down 3% to $309.85. August exports accounted for 14% of total U.S. beef production and 11.3% for muscle cuts only, down from 14.3% and 12.2%, respectively, last year. Through the first eight months of the year, exports accounted for 14.2% of total beef production and 11.6% for muscle cuts, down from 14.6% and 12.1%, respectively, in 2018.

Emerging markets strong for U.S. pork, even as exports rebound to China and Mexico

Although still held back by China’s retaliatory duties, China/Hong Kong was the largest destination for U.S. pork in August at 63,656 mt, more than tripling the August 2018 volume, while export value climbed 160% to $137.6 million. For January through August, exports to China/Hong Kong were up 38% in volume (356,322 mt) and 17% in value ($717.9 million).

Since Mexico removed its 20% retaliatory duty on U.S. pork in late May, exports have rebounded significantly but are still trailing the record-large numbers posted in 2017. August exports to Mexico were down 1% year-over-year in volume (61,365 mt), but value increased 18% to $121.1 million. A slow start to the year still weighs on January-August exports to Mexico, which were down 11% from a year ago in both volume (473,309 mt) and value ($821.8 million).

“China’s demand for imported pork has increased steadily over the past few months and the U.S. industry is well-positioned to help fill that need,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “But the really positive story behind these numbers is that even as U.S. exports to China/Hong Kong have surged and exports to Mexico rebounded after the removal of retaliatory duties, demand in other markets is proving resilient and continues to grow. This is exactly why the U.S. industry invested in emerging markets over the years, and it is definitely paying dividends.”

The U.S. and Japan recently announced an agreement that will bring tariffs on U.S. pork in line with those imposed on major competitors, and August export results illustrated the pressing need for tariff relief. August volume was down 19% to 28,240 mt, while value fell 18% to $120.1 million. Through August, exports to Japan trailed last year’s pace by 6% in both volume (250,540 mt) and value ($1.03 billion). U.S. exports of ground seasoned pork to Japan have been hit particularly hard by the tariff gap (20% compared to 13.3% for the European Union and Canada), with Japan’s imports through August falling by 28% — nearly $60 million — compared to last year.

January-August highlights for U.S. pork include:

  • Led by steady growth in mainstay market Colombia and surging demand in Chile, exports to South America climbed 28% above last year’s record pace in volume (105,344 mt) and 30% in value ($264.7 million). Shipments to Peru cooled in August but have also contributed to export growth in 2019.
  • Exports to Central America were 16% above last year’s record pace in volume (60,727 mt) and 19% higher in value ($147 million). Honduras and Guatemala are the largest Central American destinations for U.S. pork, and exports trended higher to both markets. Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua also contributed to regional growth, with exports increasing by double digits.
  • Exports to Oceania were up 38% from a year ago to 77,556 mt, while value increased 32% to $217.1 million. A key destination for hams and other muscle cuts used for further processing, exports to Australia jumped 36% from a year ago to 69,692 mt, valued at $192.5 million (up 31%). Growth to New Zealand was also impressive, with exports up 52% in volume (7,864 mt) and 48% in value ($24.6 million).
  • While January-August exports to South Korea were down 9% from last year’s record pace in volume (145,690 mt) and fell 10% in value ($411.8 million), August exports were up significantly as volume climbed 27% to 14,336 mt and value surged 35% to $42.2 million. In mid-September, South Korea confirmed its first cases of African swine fever (ASF), with 13 outbreaks reported in the northwest corner of the country near the border with North Korea. While the disease is still confined to a relatively small area, ASF is certainly a pressing concern for Korea’s domestic pork industry.
  • ASF has also impacted pork production in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam but also recently spreading into the Philippines. While U.S. exports to the ASEAN trailed last year’s pace by 10% in volume (35,164 mt) and 19% in value ($81.1 million), the region’s need for imported pork is likely to trend higher in coming months.

U.S. beef exports cool in August, but remain on strong pace

After setting new value records in June and July, U.S. beef exports to South Korea slowed 9% from a year ago in August to 22,307 mt, while value dropped 11% to $157.4 million. But for January through August, exports to Korea were still 8% ahead of last year’s record pace in volume (174,290 mt) and 10% higher in value ($1.26 billion). Korean import data through August showed double-digit growth for U.S. beef in the top two cut categories: short rib and short plate/brisket. The United States accounted for more than 55% of Korea’s chilled/frozen beef import volume, up from 53% in the first eight months of 2018.

Similar to pork, the U.S. beef industry looks forward to gaining tariff relief in leading market Japan, where August exports slipped 15% from a year ago to 28,646 mt. Value was down 22% to $164.3 million, although it is important to note that exports in August 2018 were a post-BSE record $209.3 million. For January through August, exports to Japan were 3% below last year’s pace in volume (217,698 mt) and 4% lower in value ($1.36 billion). Beef variety meat exports to Japan (mainly tongues and skirts) have been a bright spot in 2019, increasing 31% in volume (44,617 mt) and 18% in value ($260 million). U.S. tongues and skirts face higher duty rates than competitors’ products but are tariffed at 12.8% compared to 38.5% for U.S. muscle cuts.

“The U.S. beef industry is extremely excited at the prospect of lower tariffs in Japan, as 38.5% is the highest rate assessed in any major market,” Halstrom said. “As we’ve seen in Korea, where the tariff rate was once 40% but has been reduced by more than half, lower tariffs make U.S. beef even more affordable for a wider range of customers. While the agreement still needs parliamentary approval in Japan, importers are already enthused and preparing for long-awaited tariff relief.”

January-August beef exports to China/Hong Kong fell 24% from a year ago in volume (60,259 mt) and 20% in value ($510.7 million). Several factors have impacted U.S. exports to the region, including street protests in Hong Kong that have slowed commerce and tourism. While supermarket sales remain strong in Hong Kong, the disruption has been particularly hard on the restaurant sector. Although China remains a small destination for U.S. beef and exports are hampered by China’s retaliatory duties, January-August volume increased 23% from a year ago to 5,625 mt, valued at $44.7 million (up 12%).

January-August highlights for U.S. beef include:

  • Exports to Mexico, the third-largest international market for U.S. beef, were slightly lower than a year ago in volume (156,528 mt, down 1%), but value increased 5% to $729.5 million. Beef variety meat exports to Mexico were down 3% from a year ago to 62,504 mt, but commanded better prices as export value increased 12% to $166 million.
  • Although beef exports to Taiwan were modestly lower year-over-year in August, January-August exports were still 10% percent above last year’s record pace in volume (42,785 mt) and 7% higher in value ($383.9 million).
  • Led by surging demand in Indonesia and solid growth in the Philippines and Vietnam, beef exports to the ASEAN region were 27% above last year’s pace in volume (37,206 mt) and 12% higher in value ($180.6 million).
  • Strong August results in Central America pushed exports 4% above last year’s pace in volume (9,898 mt) and 10% higher in value ($56.7 million), led by a strong performance in Panama and steady growth in Guatemala and Honduras.
  • Beef exports to the Dominican Republic continue to reach new heights, as volume increased 45% from a year ago to 6,060 mt, while value climbed 35% to $48.6 million.

Halstrom noted that the temporary loss of a major processing plant to a fire likely had a negative effect on August exports, but he does not expect to see a lasting impact.

“Beef supplies are tight throughout the world but the U.S. maintains a supply advantage, as production is expected to be record-large in 2020,” he said. “Both domestic and international demand for U.S. beef remains strong, and there is significant potential for further export growth, especially once the U.S.-Japan agreement is implemented.”

Lamb exports trend lower in August

August exports of U.S. lamb were down 12% year-over-year at 1,193 mt, while value declined 8% to $1.84 million. For January through August, exports remained 32% above last year’s pace at 10,626 mt, while value increased 13% to $17.5 million. Lamb muscle cut exports were 17% lower than a year ago in volume (1,397 mt) but slightly higher in value ($9.5 million, up 1%). Markets showing promising muscle cut growth included the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Panama.

Complete January-August export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available from USMEF’s statistics Web page.

Monthly charts for U.S. pork and beef exports are also available online.

If you have questions, please contact Joe Schuele at jschuele@usmef.org or call 303-547-0030.

NOTES:

  • Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
  • One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.
  • U.S. pork currently faces retaliatory duties in China. China’s duty rate on frozen pork muscle cuts and variety meat increased from 12 to 37% in April 2018, from 37 to 62% in July 2018 and from 62 to 72% on Sept. 1, 2019. Mexico’s duty rate on pork muscle cuts increased from zero to 10% in June 2018 and jumped to 20% the following month. Beginning in June 2018, Mexico also imposed a 15% duty on sausages and a 20% duty on some prepared hams. Mexico’s duties were removed in May 2019 but were in effect for much of the period reported above.
  • U.S. beef faces retaliatory duties in China. China’s duty rate on beef muscle cuts and variety meats increased from 12 to 37% in July 2018 and from 37 to 47% on Sept. 1, 2019. Canada imposed a 10% duty in July 2018 that applied to HS 160250 cooked/prepared beef products. Canada’s duty was removed in May 2019 but was in effect for much of the period reported above.