Increases Expected For U.S. Meat Exports, Seng Tells USMEF Members

US - Exports of U.S. beef, pork and lamb to foreign countries are expected to increase in 2007, thanks in part to efforts of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
calendar icon 3 November 2006
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That was one of the messages shared by Phil Seng, USMEF President and CEO, with members and guests today at the USMEF Strategic Market Planning meeting. The remarks were made during the President’s Address as the USMEF celebrates its 30th anniversary Nov. 1-3 in Cancun, Mexico.

U.S. international beef sales are expected to be up 36 percent, Seng said, while pork is projected to increase 9 percent and lamb projected to be up 7 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), global beef trade will be up 6.5 percent and pork up 2.6 percent. Chicken is expected to see a 4.1 percent increase.

Seng also identified six strategic priorities for USMEF that will help maximize U.S. beef, pork and lamb exports in the coming year. These are total carcass utilization, trade support, buyer education and loyalty, market presence, product/industry image and market access.

Anniversary Celebrated

According to Seng, the future of the organization is made possible by the tremendous success seen over its 30-year history.

Key to the organization’s success, Seng said, was partnerships. Among those organizations he recognized were the USDA, livestock checkoff boards and organizations, meat organizations, animal feed groups and checkoff boards, as well as the packers, processors, purveyors and traders who make up a large portion of the membership of the organization.

According to Seng, individuals with these organizations and others recognized that industry organizations were domestically-oriented, and that an association devoted entirely to exports would best service international customers. “They saw that there needed to be an organization that was 100 percent internationally focused, culturally sensitive, language proficient and which totally understands foreign business practices and customs,“ he said. Before the introduction of USMEF the largest concern of producers was imports, Seng noted.

The new organization would be multi-specie and multi-sector, since everyone benefits when more U.S. beef, pork and lamb is exported, Seng said. It would be more efficient and cost effective than trying to do the job separately.

Until 2003, Seng said, USMEF was active in 131 countries. “Clearly (meat exports are still) one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in all of U.S. agriculture,“ Seng said.

Seng listed some of the milestones that have contributed to the increases and the success of the organization, including the passage of the 1985 Farm Bill, which included the Trade Export Assistance (TEA) program that later became USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) and the passage of livestock checkoff programs; the Japan agreement in 1988; the opening of the Korea market to beef and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989; the NAFTA accord in 1994; the opening of the Korea market to pork in 1997; the commencement of the DOHA rounds and the accession of China to the WTO for beef and pork in 2001; and an initiative by USMEF to expand the market for U.S. beef and pork in Europe in 2004.

“As I reflect on the reasons the USMEF was started 30 years ago, I believe the same reasons are valid (for its existence) today,“ Seng said. “And we’re committed to the cause, with an extremely capable staff. We are looking forward to the challenges.“

The U.S. Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, lamb, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs.

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