Better news from Korea
Jul 02, 2008
Maybe the Korean mess will settle out one of these days. But even if doesn’t, we are going to export more and more beef.
And that’s a good thing, because we’re probably going to see a price rise one of these months that will spin the heads on our own consumers.
A big part of our own economic problem in the U.S. is the sudden growth in consumer buying ability abroad. Our poor people remain quite rich by comparison, but they are not as well able to compete for things like fuel and steel as they were.
As those purchases take more of their money, there will be less for the luxuries. And beef, for many Americans, is a luxury. Once we get the price of cattle high enough for our production chain to make a real profit, it will be even more of a luxury—and that can hardly bode well for consumer demand.
We have to sell this stuff to furrners, folks. Our product is a bargain in most parts of the world. That is why we must insist on fair trading rules and why this reporter refuses to condemn the Administration for not yielding to Korea’s consumerists for short-term gain in that one market.
Better to lose Korea than lose the principle of following trade rules and standing by agreements.
There is reason to be optimistic about Korea, anyhow, judging by the latest news stories.
Lee seems to showing resolve and there seems to be significant demand among consumers.
Our biggest concern needs to be whether the protestors will allow retailers to sell U.S. beef. Marketers are notoriously spooky about standing up to pressure groups.
There’s little doubt we’ll sell a lot of beef in Korea if we get a fair shot. Despite all the protests, there are a lot of Koreans eager to buy U.S. One recent poll indicated that most Koreans believed the protests should stop.
If as much as half of the country’s consumers believe U.S. beef is safe, price alone should justify a quick return to pre-ban sales.
But while we’re all so focused on Korea, beef exports continue to grow. The United States Meat Export Federation reported this week that during the week of June 13-19, U.S. beef export sales exceeded those for the same week in 2003 – the last pre-BSE year – by 12%.
Year-to-date exports still trail 2003 totals by nearly 39%, but they’ve grown enough already to contribute significantly to the fed cattle market’s surprising strength of late.
You know that U.S. beef will finally get a share of the explosive growth in worldwide income. One of the first things a poor man does when he gets some kaching in his jeans is buy some beef.
The industry’s job here is to make sure we get access to that world of new eaters.