Dear USMEF Members:
We hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe during these challenging times. With uncertainty and turbulence impacting our daily lives and livelihoods, I wanted to take a moment to share some positive news regarding red meat exports.
Even as COVID-19 disrupted export markets in the first quarter of 2020, demand for high-quality red meat remains strong. USMEF continues to forecast record levels of exports for U.S. beef and pork in 2020, based on global supply and demand fundamentals, and as reflected in the pace of weekly exports in the first quarter.
As USMEF Chair, I have had the opportunity to represent our industry and meet with international customers and trading partners in many export markets. These experiences have shown me first-hand how USMEF staff identifies trade opportunities and develops markets for U.S. red meat. The USMEF team is working closely with suppliers, importers and distributors on logistical challenges and is working to position U.S. beef and pork for new opportunities in all market segments.
On the supply side, analysts are forecasting a significant drop in global pork production in 2020 due to ASF in China and Southeast Asia. For beef, analysts expect a double-digit slowdown in Australian production and exports. As for demand, trade agreements with Japan and China are opening new doors for U.S. red meat. We are regaining lost market share in Japan, our highest-value export market. In China, with much broader access for U.S. beef, the industry is in position to expand its presence in the largest and fastest growing beef market in the world. Better access will benefit U.S. pork exporters looking to expand their business in a market that will be short several million metric tons of pork in 2020.
Around the world, consumer demand is growing for high-quality red meat protein, and we have a committed, global USMEF team working to develop markets, and markets within markets, for U.S. red meat. We are a strong and resilient industry. We value our partnership with you and thank you for your continued support.
Stay safe and be well,