Weekly USMEF Audio Report: China Drives November Pork Exports to New Heights, but Challenges Ahead
DENVER, CO -January 13, 2020 – November exports of U.S. pork set new records for both volume (259,812 metric tons) and value ($712.7 million), driven in large part by surging demand from China, where the domestic industry continues to struggle with the impact of African swine fever. Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, says China’s hog prices peaked in November, which further accelerated its already-strong demand for imported pork.
Haggard expects China’s pork imports to be large again in 2020 but says the market is tightening due to growing frozen inventories and a gradual recovery in domestic pork production. U.S. pork remains at a significant tariff disadvantage due to China’s retaliatory duties, and both Chinese importers and U.S. suppliers are hoping to see relief from this situation soon.
USMEF’s full summary of November exports for U.S. pork, beef and lamb is available online.
While this was Austin’s first international market visit since joining USMEF in October, he has previous experience in Japan from his time as general manager of Smithfield Foods’ Tokyo office. He says the outlook in Japan is very optimistic now that the new U.S.-Japan trade agreement is in effect, bringing import tariff rates for U.S. pork and beef in line with those imposed on major competitors. Austin notes that closing the tariff gap allows discussions with existing and prospective customers to focus on the quality and consistency of U.S. red meat products.
The U.S.-Japan trade agreement entered into force on Jan. 1, and a second round of tariff rate reductions will take place April 1 when the new Japanese fiscal year begins. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) provides specific details on the agreement’s red meat trade provisions in these fact sheets:
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (www.USMEF.org) is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations.
Submitted to the BARN by:
Vice President, Communications
U.S. Meat Export Federation