LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY
World Markets and Trade
Status of U.S. Meat Product Exports in 1997
Beset by international meat safety concerns in 1997, U.S. meat product exports are under pressure. The total value of U.S. exports of beef, pork, poultry, variety meats, tallow & grease, and hides & skins over the first eight months of 1997 was down 4 percent from the corresponding period in 1996. This compares to an annual aggregate export growth since 1990 of 10 percent, supported by gains in all the products except hides and skins. U.S. meat product exports thus far in 1997 total $5.4 billion, down from the $5.7 billion recorded in the first eight months of 1996. The value of poultry meat exports has edged up slightly over last year, however, not enough to offset the declines in red meat exports.
Meat markets in 1997 are highlighted by:
Confusion in the world pork market as an FMD outbreak was announced in Taiwan in March 1997. U.S. exports were expected to benefit from increased Japanese demand for non-Taiwanese pork (see FMD article). However, high Japanese stocks and very selective buying by the Japanese have left the U.S. industry largely on the sidelines. Exports to Japan through August have plummeted 17 percent below last year with total pork exports down 5 percent.
Sluggish trade opportunities exist in the red meat markets in Asia in response to lingering concerns over food safety. In the wake of outbreaks of E.coli and BSE, the value of U.S. beef exports to Japan has dropped 17 percent during the first eight-months of the year. The competitive position for U.S. beef in Asia is further constrained by the strength of the U.S. dollar and attractive competitor prices.
Favorable economic conditions in Mexico in 1997 have set the stage for buoyant gains in exports of all U.S. meat products. In the first 8 months of 1997, Mexico--the United States' third largest trading partner--was the destination for 13 percent of all U.S. meat exports, up from 6 percent last year.
Serious threats to U.S. exports of tallow to the EU exist in response to the proposed 1998 ban on the use of U.S. products. Brussels is reportedly unlikely to grant the BSE-free status to U.S. product to avoid the January 1, 1998 ban on the use of such products. Reluctance of EU buyers to stock U.S. product has left U.S. tallow exports languishing, down 23 percent in the first seven months of the year with little hope of recovery.
Uninterrupted by any major market access issues in 1997, U.S. poultry products have moved unimpeded into the Russian market. While product continues to move, Russian collection of import duties continues to dampen per unit export values, slowing the value gains in U.S. exports to only 1 percent.
There were changes in disease free status of several countries. Two states in Mexico were declared free of hog cholera which should facilitate movement of pork into the United States. Argentina is presently FMD-free, enhancing the medium-term competitive outlook for Argentine beef in world markets.
The value of U.S. hides and skins exports, supported by high per unit export prices, is up 9 percent for the first eight months of the year. This is despite a lower volume of shipments, reflecting the reduction in cattle slaughter in 1997. Demand continues strong in the U.S.'s major markets--Korea, Taiwan, and Mexico.
Food safety concerns, as well as constrained economic growth in Japan, have cast a major shadow on U.S. exports of variety meats thus far in 1997. Sluggish demand from Japan, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of U.S. exports, explains the 23 percent drop in exports through August.
On the brighter side, overall meat exports are expected to strengthen over the latter part of 1997 as food safety concerns subside and the sluggish growth which characterized the first half of 1997 abates. This stronger pace of shipments should allow the total value of U.S. meat exports to exceed the $8.4 billion record set in 1996. The total volume of 1997 meat exports is projected at 3.9 million tons, up 7 percent over 1996. Three-quarters of this gain likely will be generated by stronger poultry meat exports, with some additional support from pork and beef.
Image: Status of U.S. Meat Product Exports in 1997
Image: U.S. Meat Product Exports
Table 1. Value of U.S. Exports of Beef, by Country 1990 - 1997
Table 2. Volume of U.S. Exports of Beef, by Country 1990 - 1997
Table 3. Value of U.S. Exports of Pork, by Country 1990 - 1997
Table 4. Volume of U.S. Exports of Pork, by Country 1990 - 1997
Table 5. Value of U.S. Exports of Variety Meats, by Country 1990 - 1997
Table 6. Volume of U.S. Exports of Variety Meats, by Country 1990 - 1997
Table 7. Value of U.S. Exports of Poultry, by Country 1990 - 1997
Table 8. Volume of U.S. Exports of Poultry, by Country 1990 - 1997
Table 9. Value of U.S. Exports of Tallow,and Grease by Country 1990 - 1997
Table 10. Volume of U.S. Exports of Tallow and Grease, by Country 1990 - 1997
Table 11. Value of U.S. Exports of Bovine Hides & Skins, by Country 1990 - 1997