American animal proteins increasingly dependent on diversification
DENVER, Nov. 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Over the past two decades, U.S. animal protein exports have nearly tripled, from $ 7.4 billion to $ 20.7 billion. This growth is largely the result of successful marketing programs in the industry and sound trade negotiations with the government. Today, exports account for 10 to 30% of US animal protein production, depending on the industry segment.
Trade policy remains an essential element in building cohesive and reliable export markets, and the United States must be at the negotiating table as new trade developments unfold, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange. . The recent appointment of a chief agricultural negotiator to the office of the US trade representative is an important step in that direction.
The Trump administration’s harsher line on trade, pursued by the Biden administration, has led to mixed results for U.S. agriculture. Agricultural exports to China flourished under the Phase 1 agreement, but the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) likely meant lost opportunities for US exporters.
“Continued market and product diversification is essential for a vibrant US protein export business,” said Brian Earnest, chief animal protein economist at CoBank. “The successes enjoyed by the US meat industry during the Phase 1 agreement with China are not assured in 2022 and beyond. And the United States’ lack of involvement in the evolution of global trading partnerships in recent years has jeopardized the success of exports. “
Since 2000, the share of the volume of meat and poultry exported by the United States has increased from around 6% to over 13%. These gains were made in the wake of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other trade agreements concluded by US administrations since President Reagan.
However, for over a decade free trade has become significantly less popular in the United States. Unfortunately for US meat exporters, the rest of the world continues to move forward on trade deals that threaten to put US producers at a disadvantage in world markets.
As exports to East Asia and North America have grown, European markets have eroded for US protein exporters. Countries outside of East Asia and North America account for almost one-third of all US protein export volume. And many of these countries are directly involved in multilateral trade agreements that do not include the United States, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The impact of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was minimal, as American beef and pork had already benefited from duty-free access to trading partners under NAFTA. However, the revised engagement with the first and third largest U.S. food and agricultural export markets calmed participants as policymakers sought to rebalance trade at the time. As the volume of exports to China has eroded recently, a healthy trading relationship with Mexico is essential.
Access to various markets also remains vital for US meat exports. For example, USDA trade data shows the United States exported 650 million pounds of broiler meat to 111 destinations in August. While nearly 65% went to the top three destinations (Mexico, China and Cuba), 20 destinations claimed at least 1% of US broiler meat exports.
As China has become a growing source of opportunities for meat exporters in recent years, it will become increasingly important to seek global opportunities for US meat exports. This is especially true if the CPTPP continues to win over major protein exporting countries and the United States is not a member.
Read the report, US Animal Protein Needs Trade Negotiators Back at the Table.
CoBank is a $ 155 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export finance and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural electricity, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated farm credit associations serving more than 75,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states nationwide.
CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of retail banks and credit associations licensed to serve the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture, rural infrastructure, and rural communities. Based outside of Denver, Colorado, CoBank serves clients in regional banking centers across the United States and maintains an international representative office in Singapore.