U.S. Beef Trade in Asia

Summary

Asia has experienced tremendous economic growth in recent years with an emerging middle class that is incorporating more protein into its diet. Despite being shut out of most Asian markets in 2003, the U.S. beef industry has worked hard to restore consumer confidence in U.S. beef production and continues to gain back market share in many of those countries by providing Asian consumers with a safe and delicious beef product. The United States is actively engaged in trade negotiations throughout Asia in order to remove remarkably high import tariffs and restrictive quotas and non-tariff trade barriers that limit access to Asian consumers. Demand for U.S. beef is strong in Asia, and even with these restrictions in place, three of the top five export markets for U.S. beef in 2012 were Asian countries.

Japan

  • In 2011 and 2012, Japan was a top three market for U.S. beef exports in terms of sales. In 2011, the U.S. sold over $874,000,000 of beef to Japanese consumers (37 percent increase from 2010), and in 2012 U.S. beef exports topped $1,000,000,000 (18 percent increase from 2011). 
  • In the first five months of 2013 Japanese consumers purchased $544,000,000 of U.S. beef, making Japan the leading export market for U.S. beef.
  • Japan currently places a 38.5 percent tariff on fresh and chilled beef imports, as well as a 38.5 percent tariff on frozen beef imports. 
  • In February 2013, Japan’s Ministry of Health and Wellness implemented a new protocol that changed the age restriction on U.S. beef from 20 months and under to under 30 months. The Ministry of Health and Wellness implemented the changes to the BSE protocols for domestic beef production and beef imports from the U.S., Canada, France, and the Netherlands.
  • In 2013 Japan was welcomed as a participant in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

Korea

  • In 2012, Korean consumers purchased 125,614 metric tons of U.S. beef at a total of $582,000,000 making it the fourth largest export market in sales of U.S. beef.
  • 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.

Hong Kong

  • In 2012, Hong Kong consumers purchased 65,000 metric tons of U.S. beef at a total of nearly $340,000,000 making it the fifth largest export market in sales of U.S. beef.
  • 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.
  • Hong Kong Export Requirements

Taiwan

  • In 2012, Taiwan consumers purchased 19,000 metric tons of U.S. beef at a total of $128,000,000. 
  • In 2011, Taiwan placed a ban on all beef imports containing traces of the beta agonist ractopamine.
  • In July 2012, Taiwan voted to establish a maximum residue level for ractopamine, in compliance with the guidelines established by the Codex Alimentarius.
  • Taiwan currently accepts beef from cattle slaughtered under 30 months of age.
  • Taiwan Export Requirements

China

  • One of the greatest hindrances for the U.S. beef industry has been China’s reluctance to embrace internationally recognized science based standards for beef, such as those standards recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Codex Alimentarius (Codex).
  • According to a March 2011 report by the United States International Trade Commission, U.S. and Chinese officials have been unable to reach an agreement on requirements for trade in a variety of beef products, owing to China’s regulations related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
  • In June 2006, China agreed to allow imports of boneless U.S. beef from cattle less than 30 months of age. However, approval was subject to a number of stipulations, many unrelated to BSE risk, and an agreement has not been reached. Negotiators were able to reach agreement on trade in several other bovine products that present a low risk of BSE (bovine semen and embryos), but were unable to reach an agreement on trade in beef tallow.
  • Today, in order to export U.S. beef to China the product must meet all 22 requirements set by the Chinese government. NCBA encourages U.S. and Chinese negotiators to develop a beef protocol based on sound science and commercial feasibility instead of parochial interests.
  • United States International Trade Commission: China's Trade and Effects on U.S. Exports
     

Trans-Pacific Partnership

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an ambitious, 21st-century agreement that will enhance trade and investment among the TPP partner countries, promote innovation, economic growth and development, and support the creation and retention of jobs
  • TPP countries include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Japan was recently added to TPP.
  • NCBA supports the elimination of tariffs, quotas, and other market access prohibiting measures in TPP.
  • NCBA supports a TPP agreement that requires all participating TPP countries to lift tariff and non-tariff trade barriers on U.S. beef once the TPP agreement is enacted.
  • NCBA supports a TPP agreement that requires all countries that participate in TPP abide by full World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines.

Indonesia

  • Indonesia has an estimated population of 242 million people (according to the World Bank, 2011) and is commonly recognized as the largest Islamic population in the world. The steady economic growth in Indonesia coupled with lack of domestic supply of beef created a strong demand for beef imports. While the main supplier of beef to Indonesia has traditionally been Australia, Indonesia’s large population is also a tremendous opportunity for U.S. beef to compete for a growing Halal niche market.
  • U.S. beef has been an unfortunate casualty to non-science based standards of Indonesia especially related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
  • Unfortunately, in April 2012 Indonesia closed its market again to U.S. beef and beef products soon after the discovery of a 10 year old dairy cow in California that tested positive for BSE.
  • In spring of 2013, the U.S. government filed suit against Indonesia at the WTO. In July 2013, Indonesia re-opened its market to U.S. beef and other products.

Oceania

  • In 2012, U.S. beef sales in Australia and New Zealand only amounted to $5,300,000. This is not a surprise given the small populations of both countries and their large domestic beef production sectors.
  • According to USDA, most of the beef produced and exported from the United States is grain-finished, and marketed as high-value cuts. Most imported beef is lower-valued, grass-fed beef destined for processing, primarily as ground beef.  
  • Most of the beef imported from Australia and New Zealand goes into processed products such as ground beef. In recent years, tight beef supplies in Oceania and the strengthening Australian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar since 2009 have hampered total beef imports to the United States.
  • Despite having a free trade agreement in place with Australia, U.S. beef is still not allowed in Australia.
  • Australia Export Requirements

Resources

NCBA Contact

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