Saudi Arabia recently lifted its 30-month cattle age restriction on U.S. beef, opening the market for beef from cattle of all ages. But Travis Arp, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior director of export services, explains that other product restrictions remain in place that continue to inhibit U.S. exports to Saudi Arabia, including feed ration requirements that are unique to the Saudi market.
In 2011, the last full year of access prior to the BSE case that prompted Saudi officials to close the market, U.S. beef exports to Saudi Arabia surpassed $30 million and were on a decidedly upward trajectory. After a four-year closure, the market reopened in 2016 but as Arp explains, exports have been slow to rebound. Last year exports to Saudi Arabia totaled $14.3 million. Through April of this year, exports were substantially below the 2019 pace at $3.3 million.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (www.USMEF.org) is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations. USMEF complies with all equal opportunity, non-discrimination and affirmative action measures applicable to it by contract, government rule or regulation or as otherwise provided by law. USMEF is an equal opportunity employer and provider.