Overseas buyers want more U.S. beef, and they are willing to pay more for it.
Beef exports remained on record pace in October, according to data by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
A quick review of Friday’s report shows October was another month of red-hot beef sales.
October beef exports:
- Total volume: 117,838 metric tons (mt), up 6% from a year ago,
- Total value: $727.4 million, up 10%
- Second-highest monthly total on record.
For January through October:
- Beef exports totaled 1.13 million mt, up 9% year-over-year
- Beef export value was up 17% to $6.92 billion.
- For beef muscle cuts only, exports increased 12% in volume (867,714 mt) and 19% in value ($6.19 billion).
“Beef exports really remain on a major roll,” said Joe Schuele, communications director, U.S. Meat Export Federation, during AgriTalk on Monday. “We're headed for $8 billion this year, I think we'll have no problem going over that milestone.”
Listen to Monday’s Agritalk:
“On the pork side, we continue to see a pattern that has developed since we've been facing the retaliatory duties, pork has been hit harder by those trade disputes with Mexico, China and Canada then have the beef exports.” Read more from Farm Journal’s PORK.
All Eyes On Japan
Schuele says public hearings, beginning today, in preparation for trade negotiations with Japan should be something all beef producers keep an eye on.
Japan is the largest value destination for both U.S. beef and pork, with combined exports of more than $3.5 billion per year. But the Japanese red meat market is intensely competitive.
“For beef, Japan has a 38.5% tariff on most of the beef that it imports today. The only the only major beef supplier that gets a bit of a break from that is Australia. They had a free trade agreement in place for a couple years now,” Schuele explained. “So they're paying about 27% on frozen, about 29% on chilled, which is a pretty significant advantage over everybody else. You're going to see Canada and New Zealand and also Mexico get similar relief to that through the [Trans Pacific Partnership] TPP 11 agreement that will go into effect at the end of this year.”
Schuele adds those countries will get more tariff relief than what Australia did in its bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan. “That underscores the urgency of U.S. beef getting similar tariff relief and why we want these negotiations to move quickly.”
USMEF also submitted written comments to USTR in this proceeding, and all comments submitted are posted online. More details are also available in this Federal Register notice.