At the recent U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Strategic Planning Conference in Tucson, Ariz., Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, reported to producers and exporters on the volatile situation in Hong Kong, where large-scale street protests have been taking place for several months.
Haggard, a longtime resident of Hong Kong, notes that protesters have been successful in disrupting Hong Kong's public transportation system, often stifling economic activity in the city's main shopping areas. The number of tourists, especially from mainland China, has declined significantly since the protests heightened, which is having a harsh impact on Hong Kong's hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sector. On the other hand, neighborhood supermarkets and taverns have seen brisk activity, as Hong Kong residents are more inclined to eat at home or choose food and beverage outlets closer to home.
Haggard adds that the economic slowdown is definitely impacting Hong Kong's demand for imported meat, but it is not the only factor holding back red meat trade this year. Traders' ability to re-export from Hong Kong has been in decline for some time, and mainland China's tight hog and pork supplies due to African swine fever are also lowering the volumes of fresh pork entering Hong Kong.
Listen to the full report in the audio clip below.