U.S. red meat exports reached unprecedented levels in 2021, with export value totaling $18.7 billion. Trade agreements played a major role in this success story, explains U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Economist Erin Borror. She notes that the greatly reduced tariff rates achieved in the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) helped boost U.S. beef exports to new heights, the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement cleared the way for a sharp increase in beef shipments to China and the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement restored a level tariff playing field for U.S. beef. In the Western Hemisphere, beef exports benefited greatly from duty-free access to FTA partners such as Central America, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru and Chile.
U.S. pork exports to Mexico were record-large in 2021, capitalizing on duty-free access achieved through NAFTA and solidified by the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Pork shipments also soared to Central America and rebounded impressively in Colombia, even with pork cuts commanding higher prices. Zero-duty access under KORUS helped the United States become the largest supplier of chilled pork to Korea and, similar to beef, the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement bolstered U.S. pork’s position in the highly competitive Japanese market. For example, Japan’s tariff rate on U.S. ground seasoned pork – a key ingredient in sausages processed and sold in Japan – had been 20% but will decline to zero by 2025.
A detailed summary of the 2021 red meat export results is available from the USMEF website.
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.