The US exported beef worth $5.8bn (£4.4bn) to 112 different countries in 2015. However the strength of the dollar is expected to impact on export values this year.
“US beef exports are forecast to rise to $5.3bn (£4bn) – up 0.8 million tons – in FY 2017, up from $5.2bn (£3.97bn) in FY 2016, with additional gains in sales of beef products expected as well,” a USDA spokesperson said. “This is well above the value of 2003 exports and marginally below on volume.
“Expanding production and declining wholesale beef prices will drive shipments higher, but a strong dollar remains a constraint. Global beef demand is expected to strengthen along with a pickup in global economic growth.”
In a market snapshot, the USDA detailed how it recovered from a bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak in 2003 which caused exports to drop from $3bn (£2.3bn) to $1.1bn (£840m) in the space of a year.
The USDA noted that it had successfully eliminated BSE-related restrictions in 16 countries since January 2015: Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guatemala, Iraq, Lebanon, Macau, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Saint Lucia, Singapore, South Africa, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
The World Organisation for Animal Health has also upgraded the US to ‘negligible risk status for BSE’, which the USDA has used aggressively to reopen or expand markets for beef.
The USDA also pledged to “continue work to remove all remaining BSE-related restrictions on beef to overseas markets, such as China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Australia”.