NORMAL, Ill. — U.S. exports of meat hit a record in 2012,
and the value of products sold in 2013 is predicted to surpass that achievement.
“In 2012, we exported $5.5 billion of beef and $6.2 billion
of pork, and year to date, we’re running ahead of that,” said Dan Halstrom,
senior vice president of global marketing and communication at the U.S. Meat
Export Federation. “We will have a new record this year in value exported and it
will be north of $12 million.”
For the amount of beef that is exported, the U.S. continues
to work to return to levels that were exported prior to 2003 when a case of
bovine spongiform encephalitis was discovered in the U.S.
“BSE did help us to diversify markets,” explained Halstrom
during a presentation at the Connect with Your Customer 2013 Illinois Commodity
“We were heavily concentrated in four to five markets in
2003,” he reported. “We’re now more concentrated in 10 to 12 markets, so it
probably worked to our advantage.”
The real success for beef exports this year has been Japan.
“In February, we moved from 20 months to 30 months of age
for the requirement to Japan, and that meant we went from 20 to 25 percent of
our cattle qualifying for export up to 95 percent qualifying,” Halstrom
When the requirement was for cattle under 20 months of age,
a lot of the retailers in Japan couldn’t get supply from the U.S. year around.
“Now we’re taking market share back from Australia,”
Halstrom noted. “Our market share has climbed from 27 to 37 percent.”
U.S. beef now is being marketed through Japanese food
service, family-style dining, regional supermarket chains and convenience
“There are 55,000 convenience stores in Japan,” Halstrom
said. “That’s a huge outlet for U.S. beef and pork and we’re seeing an
increasing share in that sector.”
In July, the USMEF hosted a symposium in Japan that included
“It was a reintroduction of U.S. beef into Japan and it was
a successful event,” the USMEF spokesman said.
The value of exports to U.S. cattlemen is $216 per head,
“The percent of beef production exported is 13 to 14
percent. However, there’s a huge percentage of production that goes into ground
beef,” he said. “Very little ground beef is exported so if you take that number
out it is closer to 22 percent of beef exported.”
And for some specific cuts, very high percentages are
exported, including beef tongue, 90 percent; tripe, 75 to 80 percent; and short
ribs, 90 percent, the USMEF senior vice president noted.
Currently, China is not importing any U.S. beef.
“Australia is making huge inroads in China especially for
beef,” Halstrom reported. “Our government is getting closer to an agreement and
maybe by the second quarter of 2014 we will be back into China.”
Mexico continues to be a solid market for U.S. beef.
“This market was the least effected by BSE in 2003 and the
quickest to reopen markets,” Halstrom noted. “We have a lot of success with new
products like the chuck tender and the Select grade, as well.”
The Middle East includes 18 countries and 400 million
“With the exception of one country, this market is open to
all cattle, all ages and it is the largest market for ungraded beef,” the
Central and South America are growing markets for U.S. beef.
“We had virtually zero business in Peru, Chile and Columbia
five years ago,” Halstrom said. “We have free trade agreements kicking in that
have lower duty rates, so we’re really seeing business take off.”
In July, USMEF hosted its third annual two-day showcase in
Guatemala, which included 81 buyers from 10 countries, as well as 85 exporters.
“There are two purposes, education about what is U.S. beef
and pork, the grading system and production practices,” the USMEF spokesman
said. “The second purpose is the showcase for buyers to come together.”
Peru importers specialize in variety meats.
“Virtually 100 percent of the beef tripe comes from the U.S.
and it is worth almost $1.75 per pound,” the USMEF spokesman reported. “It would
probably be worth about 50 cents per pound if we only shipped tripe to U.S.
U.S. pork exports have been a steady success story, Halstrom
“From 26 to 28 percent of the U.S. production is exported
and that has really taken off over the last five years,” he added.
“In 2012, the value of exports to U.S. producers was $56 per
head and in 2013 the value totals $54 per head,” the USMEF senior vice president
said. “A lot of that decline is Japan being down.”
Twenty-five countries now are exporting pork to Japan, the
“There’s margin in Japan,” he said.
The Chinese market is open to U.S. pork imports. There are
almost 170 cities in this country that include more than 1 million people.
“The opportunities are endless, especially as it relates to
safe food supplies,” the speaker said.
The ASEAN region, which includes the Philippines, likes to
purchase products from breed specific programs such as Duroc Pork or Berkshire
Pork, Halstrom noted.
Last year, the U.S. exported red meat to 127 countries,
Halstrom said, and USMEF expects exports to continue to grow, due to several
reasons including population growth and gross domestic product growth.
“Not all countries are growing at 2 percent like the U.S.,”
the speaker said. “A lot of markets are growing quickly like Panama at 12
percent, Egypt at 4.5 percent and China at 8 percent and as they have more
disposable income they want better quality products.”
Another important factor is lack of self sufficiency.
“Mexico is 68 percent self sufficient in pork and 50 percent
for beef,” Halstrom said. “There is nothing but potential for meat exports as we