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NDTO News Article

ND Meat Exports Reach Record Highs Thanks to FTAs

The US overall saw an increase in red meat exports throughout 2021. A primary reason for the success is the Free Trade Agreements now in practice with Korea, China, and North American partners. The USDA reports that volume and value records in beef and port exports have exceeded $18 billion for the first time.

Preliminary data for 2021 shows a 52% increase in beef exports from 2020 to 2021 from North Dakota ranchers. This totals $64.8 million in sales for 2021, which is well over the $42.4 million reported in 2020. The value of beef increased based on reports from the USDA, as similar tonnage of exports was recorded.

These record increases are attributed to sharply reduced tariffs opening up a larger opportunity for US beef and pork exports. Korea is the top export market for ND beef products, with China and Japan following as the next highest export markets depending on the year. The US has benefitted from the steadily lowering tariff rates, which reduced from 40% to 10% under the US-Korea FTA (KORUS). KORUS entered into force in 2012, and the US will continue to see the staged decreases into 2025 for many products. Korea’s beef consumption has risen steadily over the last decade, and with the reduced tariffs, US beef is getting more shelf space.

Phase One of the US-China Trade Agreement has increased competition, and the value of beef has soared since 2020. Hormone-treated beef can now enter China, which has been one of the increasing factors. There is additional opportunity to export underutilized cuts in the US, such as tongue, tripe, and intestine to China.

Japan has been a steady ND beef importer for the last decade. With the 2019 US-Japan Trade Agreement, wich to effect in January 2020, the US is seeing staged reductions in tariffs for beef, pork, poultry, and other agricultural products. A rise in consumption and a more even playfield are on the horizon for US red meat and other agricultural products.

While many other states saw a rise in pork exports, ND was not one of them. Pork exports from ND appear to have remained steady from 2020 to 2021, around $14.5 million. The US Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) also contributed to Mexico’s increase in red meat products in 2021, showing record-high imports for the country. Pork was the primary increase in Mexico, with the USDA reporting a 27% increase in consumption. The consumption of pork has also risen in Central and South American nations, including Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Peru. On the other hand, China has been importing less pork overall, as they continue to recover from the African Swine Fever outbreak in 2018-2019. Seeing increases as China has decreased their pork imports is a promising sight for those in the port industry.

The news of increasing red meat exports from the US has been a bright spot for many in this sector as we come out of another challenging year. Experts also point to continued growth for the red meat markets in 2022, although it will be tempered compared to the surge seen in 2021. NDTO is happy to assist if you are looking opportunities to export livestock in this successful atmosphere.