Beef exports totalled 119,850 metric tonnes (mt), up 7% from a year ago, and valued at $751.7 million, exceeding the previous record of $722.1 million reached in May 2018.
August exports accounted for 13.2% of total beef production, up from 12.5% a year ago. For beef muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.2%, up from 10.4% last year.
USMEF’s president and CEO Dan Halstrom said US beef exports achieved "tremendous growth", not only in the Asian markets, but also across the Western Hemisphere.
“USMEF is excited about the recent market access developments achieved by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and USDA, with favourable terms being preserved in Mexico, Canada and South Korea and trade talks getting underway with Japan,” said Halstrom.
“A trade agreement with Japan would bring opportunities for even greater expansion as US beef becomes more affordable for Japanese consumers and is back on a level playing field with Australian beef.”
US pork remained steady in comparison with last year’s volume, but USMEF revealed retaliatory duties in key markets continued to put pressure on the pork export value.
US pork currently faces retaliatory duties in two markets: China and Mexico. China’s duty rate on pork muscle cuts and variety meat increased from 12% to 37% in April and from 37% to 62% in July.
Mexico’s duty rate on pork muscle cuts increased from zero to 10% in June and jumped to 20% in July. At the beginning of June, Mexico also imposed a 15% on sausages and a 20% duty on some prepared or preserved hams and shoulders.
Halstrom added that retaliatory duties are clearly a “significant obstacle” for pork exports, despite a steady year.
“The fact that US trade officials were able to secure duty-free access for US red meat in the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement is critically important, and we are hopeful that duty-free access for US pork entering Mexico will be restored soon,” Halstrom added.
“Tariff relief in China may not come as quickly, but USMEF continues to work with industry partners to keep as much product as possible moving to China while also working aggressively to expand exports in other key markets, including Korea, Central and South America, the ASEAN region and Australia.”