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Audio: U.S. Exporters, Latin American Importers See Great Value in USMEF Product Showcase

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The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) held its seventh annual Latin American Product Showcase July 26-27 in Cartagena, Colombia. This year’s event was the largest to date, with 56 exporting companies welcoming about 140 meat buyers from 18 countries throughout Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The showcase was conducted with funding support from the Nebraska Beef Council, the Beef Checkoff Program and the Pork Checkoff.

U.S. exporters, such as Josy Castro of Atlanta-based trading company Interra International, were especially impressed with the quality of the buyers at this year’s event, who were well-qualified decision-makers ready to place orders on behalf their companies.

Pablo Salazar of Atlantic Foodservice, Colombia’s largest beef importer and one of the country’s largest buyers of imported pork, sees great value in the product showcase because of the large number of U.S. contacts he can make in just two days.

Jose Escobar of El Salvador-based food distributor Diaco was impressed with the event’s educational seminars, which gave him ideas for new products that will add variety and value to his customers’ restaurant menus.


TRANSCRIPT:

Joe Schuele: Now in its seventh year, the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Latin American Product Showcase has quickly become a premiere red meat trading even for both sellers and buyers. In this USMEF report, we hear insights from this year’s Showcase, which was just held in Cartagena, Colombia. Here’s Josy Castro, lead sales manager for the region for Atlanta-based exporter Interra International.

Josy Castro: It is definitely a very productive show for us. The first time I came, as an employee of Interra five years ago, and I have been to everyone since, this year is probably one of the busiest that I have seen, and also the qualified customers – all of the customers here have already been doing business in the United States, and they have been exporting products and they have a little bit of experience on how the business goes and how the credit goes, so definitely I think it’s a big kudos to the organization.

Joe Schuele: Pablo Salazar is with Atlantic Foodservice, one of Colombia’s largest importers and distributors.

Pablo Salazar: We are the biggest beef importer for Colombia, and the fifth or sixth top importer for pork. We go to all types of foodservice – family restaurants, big restaurant chains and all-inclusive hotels around Colombia. But every year we go to an event like this, it helps to develop new products, new relationships also with traders, so I save like two or three months of traveling in two days.

Joe Schuele: Jose Escobar of El Salvador-based food distributor Diaco is impressed with the educational aspect of the event.

Jose Escobar: In El Salvador we have a lot of customers, mostly premium restaurants that serve U.S. beef and U.S. pork, which is usually priced above the national beef or pork but the quality is much better. This is great. You get a lot of information from the presentations in the morning, the future prices and costs. So yes, a lot of good information on the products.

Joe Schuele: For more information, please visit usmef.org. For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Joe Schuele.