U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) officials said they are “pleased” with strong gains in exports posted for 2017, but also issued concerns about current Trump administration policies regarding U.S. trade policies.
Exports of U.S. proteins were up 9 percent in sales for 2017 so far and up 10 percent in volume, organization executives told the media in a conference call this morning as they opened the annual USMEF Strategic Planning Conference in Tucson, Arizona.
Double-digit gains in beef exports to Japan (23 percent) and Hong Kong/China (16 percent) combined with higher beef exports in Korea (8 percent) to represent deeper penetration in the Asia/Pacific market. USMEF also cited higher exports to South America (up 21 percent) and Africa (95 percent) as positive opportunities for additional growth, especially South Africa.
Pork exports for the year also rose in Mexico (up 18 percent), despite “always being a challenge,” USMEF CEO Philip Seng noted on the call. Colombia also represents another potential growth market for U.S. pork, having rose 85 percent this year thanks to exporters “providing the right cuts to the right markets,” USMEF said. Questions about the future of pork exports to China remain in play as that nation expands its domestic production after importing a record amount of pork in 2017.
Seng also issued a warning about the future of U.S. exports in light of Trump administration positions on such trade pacts as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).