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Audio: Seng Addresses Producers at Cattle Industry Annual Convention

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At the Cattle Industry Annual Convention in Nashville, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng addressed a meeting of the Export Growth Committee held on Friday, Feb. 3.

Although 2016 beef export results will not be final until later this week, Seng noted that U.S. beef fared very well in Japan, despite facing higher tariff rates than its chief competitor, Australian beef. He also discussed excellent growth in U.S. exports to South Korea, thanks in part to the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and noted that demand for U.S. beef is very strong in Taiwan.

Seng thanked producers for their support of international marketing efforts for U.S. beef, and urged them to remain strong advocates for global trade.


TRANSCRIPT:

Joe Schuele: At the cattle industry annual convention in Nashville, U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Philip Seng addressed producers serving on the Export Growth Committee. Seng noted that 2016 was a very good year for U.S. beef exports, especially in some key Asian markets.

Philip Seng: Our exports to Japan were up 24 percent this year. Japan has the world’s highest duty at 38.5 percent, as a result of the Australian ETA, their economic partnership agreement. We are indexed at 38.5 percent, Australia’s roughly about 28.5 percent, so that’s a big difference. We’re overcoming that and it’s very encouraging what the Korean market has done. We were up 38 percent in Korea this year. Contrary to what we have with the situation in Japan, about seven years ago we concluded the Korean-U.S. trade agreement. So we have the lowest duty shipping beef into Korea. This does make a difference because this is an advantage that is quite dramatic. Another market that’s been very good to us is Taiwan. We’re up basically about 24 percent in Taiwan on our exports. It doesn’t have the population base as Japan or Korea, but we’re very encouraged by Taiwan.

Joe Schuele: Seng urged producers to remain strong advocates for agricultural trade.

Philip Seng: In closing, I would like to again extoll how important trade is to this industry. From the standpoint of U.S. agriculture, last year we exported just north of $130 billion worth of agricultural products. You take that and you take all of the allied industries that are associated with exports, that comes up to about a half a trillion dollars to this economy – just the agricultural export side of it, which has been in the black for the last 30 years. We are in the plus column when it comes to exports. It’s one of the only industries that has that track record. It’s really important that all of us do everything we can do advance the industry’s trade, because trade is definitely in our interest and it affects out pocketbooks.

Joe Schuele: For more on the convention, please visit USMEF.org. For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Joe Schuele.