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Audio: USMEF Board Meeting Kicks off May 22 in Washington, D.C.

Click to play audio file The spring meeting of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Board of Directors is set for May 22-24 in Washington, D.C.

In the attached audio report, USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng discusses the obstacles that have challenged U.S. beef and pork exports in 2013, especially the trade impasse that currently has the Russian market closed to U.S. beef and pork. On the positive side, he sees great potential in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and the upcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks with the European Union.

Wednesday’s keynote speaker at the USMEF board meeting will be Michael Scuse, acting deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other featured speakers include Suzanne Heinen, acting deputy undersecretary for USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Sharon Bomer Lauritsen and Cattlemen’s Beef Board CEO Polly Ruhland. A full agenda is available online.

TRANSCRIPT

JOE SCHUELE: In this US Meat Export Federation Report, USMEF president and CEO, Philip Seng, offers a preview of the spring meeting of the USMEF Board of Directors, which begins Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The spring meeting is held in Washington every other year, which Seng says offers several advantages for USMEF members.

PHIL SENG: Number one is it gives us direct contact with the USDA, the USTR. A lot of our members will be going to the Hill to talk of the importance of trade, as far as the Farm Bill is concerned, so that’s very positive. Also, it gives our membership a direct exposure to hear where we are on all of the trade issues we’re dealing with.

JOE SCHUELE: Trade obstacles will be among the major topics at the meeting, including the current meat-trade impasse with Russia. But Seng says this could be a very positive year for exports in the long run, because of potential new trade agreements.

PHIL SENG: Russia, to a large degree, has been the major stumbling block for us in 2013, with the closure of that market on February 11th. We really are working in various inter(sic) to come up with a program to give the assurances to the Russians that they need in order for our pork and beef to once again flow there. There’s also other issues, when we look at compounds that maybe are approved in the United States, but not in these other countries, so we’re always working to harmonize these issues. With meat flowing in well over 100 countries, these things can impede us from being in a market, so it’s very important we take care of these things. But this year, also, I think there’s room for a lot of optimism. There’s the TPP negotiations that are in their seventeenth round, right now as we speak. Japan being accepted to be in TPP, I think is positive for us, although we have to be very vigilant about how we negotiate. I think the DTIP, or DTIP with Europe is also a very encouraging development for us. It’s one of the largest consumer markets in the world and we need more meaningful access in that market. So when we take a look at the future, even though we have hiccups here, and there, for the most part I think it looks quite bright for us if we’re very judicious about how we go forward with a lot of these negotiations with these countries.

JOE SCHUELE: For more on the USMEF meeting and other trade issues, please visit USMEF.ORG. For the US Meat Export Federation, I’m Joe Schuele.