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USMEF Connects Exporters with Buyers at First ASEAN Product Showcase

Updating importers and distributors in the ASEAN region on red meat trends and providing a platform for U.S. exporters to make new business contacts, USMEF hosted its inaugural ASEAN U.S. Meat Showcase and Conference in Singapore. The showcase was followed by an additional “Meet the Buyers” session in Indonesia. These events, which included product displays and a cutting demonstration, as well as discussions on topics ranging from trade with China to global demand trends to preventing the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF), were funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program.

Travis Arp, USMEF senior director for export services/access, presents on African swine fever (ASF) during the U.S. meat showcase in Singapore

Travis Arp, USMEF senior director for export services/access, presents on African swine fever (ASF) during the U.S. meat showcase in Singapore

USMEF is a contractor of the National Pork Board and a subcontractor of the Beef Checkoff.

“The showcase was designed to facilitate ASEAN buyers who have been wanting to meet with U.S. exporters to explore opportunities to import U.S. red meat,” said Sabrina Yin, USMEF director in the region. “Beginning in Singapore and then moving to Indonesia, this gathering became even more important in the wake of ASF outbreaks in some ASEAN countries, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (ASF was also later confirmed in the Philippines). Some trade and buying missions from the region had been put on hold in recent months because of these outbreaks, so bringing importers and exporters together in two different locations was designed to continue the momentum U.S. red meat has established in the region and develop new growth opportunities.”

Importers and exporters had face-to-face meetings during the product showcase and “Meet the Buyers” session

Importers and exporters had face-to-face meetings during the product showcase and “Meet the Buyers” session

Yin said ASEAN importers were invited to the showcase based on their buying capacity and potential for growth.

Along with product displays featuring U.S. pork and beef and face-to-face meetings between traders, USMEF staff made presentations designed to help importers and exporters plan business strategies in the ASEAN region.

Importers and exporters attended a U.S. wine and food promotion and tasting reception in Jakarta that featured U.S. beef and U.S. pork along with U.S. products

Importers and exporters attended a U.S. wine and food promotion and tasting reception in Jakarta that featured U.S. beef and U.S. pork along with U.S. products

Bill Verzani, regional agricultural attaché of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Singapore, opened the showcase with Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific. Haggard followed by leading a discussion on U.S.-China trade and the impact it could have on the meat business throughout Asia. He also updated participants on the effect of ASF on China’s meat supplies.

Travis Arp, USMEF senior director for export services/access, presented on the U.S. swine industry’s ASF prevention efforts.

An outlook for U.S. red meat supply and demand, as well as information on trends and pricing, was given by USMEF trade analyst Jessica Spreitzer.

To wrap up the first day of the showcase, a trade reception featured roasted U.S. beef ribeye and U.S. pork baby back ribs, sausages and meatballs.

Alex Sun, USMEF marketing manager in Taiwan, conducted a cutting demonstration and offered information on the most popular U.S. cuts in his market

Alex Sun, USMEF marketing manager in Taiwan, conducted a cutting demonstration and offered information on the most popular U.S. cuts in his market

The second day in Singapore opened with a product showcase and more face-to-face meetings.

Alex Sun, USMEF marketing manager in Taiwan, presented on U.S. red meat applications for the retail and foodservice sectors. Sun conducted a cutting demonstration using U.S. beef and pork.

Importers in Singapore check out cuts of U.S. beef and pork on display at the U.S. meat showcase

Importers in Singapore check out cuts of U.S. beef and pork on display at the U.S. meat showcase

Other USMEF presentations included:

  • Procedure and control of USDA on meat exports to ASEAN (Arp)
  • Red meat consumption trends in Taiwan’s foodservice and retail sectors (Sun)
  • ASEAN market update and outlook (Yin)
  • USMEF marketing and promotional activities (Yin)

USMEF then moved the showcase to Jakarta, Indonesia, where importers and exporters were briefed by Chris Rittgers, agricultural counselor, and Garret MacDonald, agricultural attaché, for FAS.

As was the case in Singapore, the purpose of the Jakarta gathering was to update importers, distributors, processors and retailers on the international meat market situation and the U.S. red meat outlook.

“In Jakarta, we invited members of the Indonesia Meat Processors Association and trade contacts who did not have the chance to attend the Singapore showcase,” said Yin. “Bringing importers and exporters together in Jakarta had special significance because the event coincided with additional U.S. plants preparing to apply for approval to export to the Indonesia in the near future.”

A U.S. food and wine reception drew national television news coverage in Indonesia, which can be viewed online.

USMEF also led a retail tour to explore how red meat is displayed and merchandised in the area.

The second day in Jakarta was anchored by Spreitzer’s presentation, which included a detailed global red meat outlook and supply update to help attendees understand current and near-term market scenarios.

Importers and exporters were then free to meet, exchange information and explore potential business deals.

Feedback from participants at both locations was extremely positive.

“Many commented that the showcase was very useful because the buyers were vetted and serious about doing business,” said Spreitzer. “In Indonesia, there was a lot of optimism on growth in demand for U.S. beef as incomes continue to rise. Opportunities for pork were also mentioned – especially regarding the growth in Chinese restaurants and for the tourism sector in Bali. The limited number of approved plants remains the biggest constraint in that country, according to the importers. But these are examples of the helpful discussion and information sharing that took place in both Singapore and Jakarta.”

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