The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) said the new beef agreement announced today by the USTR and USDA will provide a significant boost in demand for U.S. beef to Japan. The change, which takes effect Feb. 1, will allow the U.S. to export beef from animals under 30 months of age to Japan with the exception of ground beef, which will be phased in after a surveillance period to ensure the new export protocol is proceeding smoothly. In the aftermath of the discovery of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in the U.S. in December 2003, only beef from animals 20 months of age or younger has been eligible for export to Japan.
Story: USTR Kirk and USDA Sec. Vilsack Announce Beef Trade Agreement With Japan
Japan is currently the No. 2 market for U.S. beef exports in terms of value and No. 3 in volume (143,900 MT or 317.2 million lbs.) valued at $969.8 million through the first 11 months of 2012 – expected to top $1 billion in value for the year for the first time since 2003. USMEF forecasts that U.S. beef exports to Japan in 2013 as a result of expanded access to the market will increase roughly 45% in volume and value, reaching 225,000 MT (496 million lbs.) and $1.5 billion.
Juli says: Cattle futures settled sharply higher today as traders had bullish supply and demand news to factor into the market. Friday's Cattle on Feed Report paints a picture of a tightening supply outlook and today's announcement agreement should result in USDA raising its beef export projection in next month's S&D Report.