Beef exports were the smallest in 10 years during May and pork exports were the lowest in seven months, "due in part to interruptions in slaughter and processing," said the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Chief executive Dan Halstrom said the global economic slowdown and stay-at-home orders in some Western Hemisphere nations also were factors. (No paywall)
Exports of U.S.-grown pork and beef are flowing at a higher volume than in 2019, with a sales value of $4.86 billion through April. Strong meat exports are a sign that the United States is a reliable supplier worldwide despite coronavirus disruptions in meatpacking plants, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday. (No paywall)
U.S. exports of hormone-free beef to Europe would triple under an agreement signed by President Trump and hailed by EU officials as a sign of tangible results for the strongest trade relationship in the world. Meanwhile, China said it “will have to take necessary counter-measures” if the United States expands the trade war on Sept. 1, as Trump says he plans to do.
In a video posted Monday on social media, the U.S. cattle industry predicted it would be shut out of the Chinese market and lose an estimated $70 million in beef sales this year due to retaliatory tariffs. Groups representing pork and dairy producers expressed similar concerns.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will celebrate the reopening of the Chinese market to U.S. beef on Friday at the same time the Trump administration is considering trade action against Beijing. The first shipment of U.S. beef arrived in China on June 19 following a 13-year absence from that market.
Following the first shipments of U.S. beef to China in 14 years, the U.S. Dairy Export Council says the United States and China have signed a memorandum of understanding “on dairy trade assurances that will allow more exports from the United States.” At the same time, a consumer group said the United States should not allow China to ship poultry products to America.
With China and the United States trying to improve trade relations, White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced the publication of the USDA’s final details for beef exports to China, which have been barred since the first U.S. case of mad cow disease, in 2003.
Last August, Brazil said it would remove barriers to U.S. beef that were imposed in 2003 to prevent mad cow disease. Nine months later, the first shipment of fresh U.S. beef has cleared customs for sale to Brazilian consumers.
U.S. beef imports are declining and are forecast to be 14 percent lower in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period a year ago, say USDA economists.
With a scandal clouding Brazil's meatpackers, Montana Sen. Jon Tester announced legislation for a 120-day ban on U.S. imports of meat from the South American country. The ban will give USDA "time to comprehensively investigate food safety threats and to determine which Brazilian beef sources put American consumers at risk," said Tester's office.