Asia Beef Trade
Asia: A Continent Hungry for U.S. Beef
With 96 percent of the world's population living outside the United States, increasing exports of U.S. beef into Asian markets is critical to the growth and sustainability of the U.S. beef cattle industry. NCBA strongly supports trade initiatives that reduce tariff barriers to access for U.S. beef. We not only support basing trade agreements on science-based, internationally recognized animal health standards, but we are committed to adhering to those standards and holding our trade partners to those standards as well. As a result of our investments in technology and science-based animal health and inspection systems, the U.S. cattle industry produces the highest-quality, safest beef in the world. The goal of U.S. agricultural trade policy should be to make our product as competitive as possible in the world market.
Summary of Key Asian Markets
- Demand for U.S. beef in Korea is strong. U.S. beef sales in Korea exceeded $582 million in 2012.
- In previous years the greatest hindrance for U.S. beef was the 40 percent tariff on U.S. beef imports.
- Fortunately, the Korea-United States (KORUS) free trade agreement took effect on March 15, 2012, beginning the 15-year repeal of the 40 percent tariff on U.S. beef, allowing us to sell more U.S. beef to Korean consumers at a more affordable price.
- Today, U.S. beef is still limited to animals slaughter under 30 months. As consumer confidence grows in Korea that age-based restriction may change in future consultations.
- Because the United States reached an agreement with Korea before Australia, our beef producers will have a 5.34 percent competitive advantage over U.S. beef for 15 years.
- The elimination of China’s tariff and other trade restrictions could lead to an additional $3.9 to $5.2 billion in U.S. agricultural exports to China, according to an U.S. International Trade Commission study.
- China’s market remains closed to U.S. beef since the 2003 discovery of a Canadian-born cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States.
- Despite the fact that U.S. beef is recognized internationally as a safe product, China uses non-science based standards to keep U.S. beef out of its market.
- U.S. beef sales in China would exceed $200 million if given access.
- Historically, Japan was the top market for U.S. beef exports at $1.4 billion.
- In 2012, Japan was the second largest export market for U.S. beef totaling over $1 billion.
- After a year-long examination of science related to BSE, the Japanese Food Safety Commission recommended lifting the age restriction on protocols for domestic and imported beef.
- As of February 1, 2013, U.S. beef from cattle slaughtered under 30 months of age can be exported to Japan. This is an increase from the under 20 month restriction previously placed on U.S. beef.
- With the new protocols in place the sales could increase up to $1.5 billion.
- In 2011, Taiwan consumers purchased more than $200 million worth of U.S. beef.
- In January 2011, the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration began testing for the existence of ractopamine in imported beef. Based on trace amounts of the feed additive in U.S. beef products, Taiwanese officials pulled products from grocery shelves and rejected affected products at ports of entry.
- Ractopamine is recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe feed additive.
- Following the establishment of a Maximum Residue Level (MRL) of 10ppb by Codex Alimentarius, Taiwan established its own MRL in 2012 to reopen the market to U.S. beef.
- In 2012, Hong Kong was the fifth largest export market for U.S. beef totaling $339.5 million
- In 2012, exports to Hong Kong increased 28% in volume and 43% in value compared to 2011, reaching 65,033 metric tons.
- Prior to February 25, 2012, Hong Kong only allowed boneless muscle cuts from cattle less than 30 months of age. Hong Kong now accepts U.S. boneless beef cuts from cattle of all ages. Bone-in cuts are now eligible from cattle less than 30 months of age.