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October 1 2018

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October 1 2018 | The Journal of Commerce 19 www.joc.com Cover Story Special Report Cool Cargoes Currently, Europe is a major supplier for beef and pork products to Africa, but Halstrom expects the US will continue to make inroads into the African market. As for the remainder of 2018, the USMEF expects to see ongoing growth for beef and pork. "Seasonally, the largest produc- tion time for beef and pork is the fall — the end of the third and fourth quarters," Halstrom said. Although he acknowledges the good news in terms of production and export growth, "We are con- cerned about the rhetoric [sur- rounding US trade policy] and the unknowns going forward," he said, adding that the impact of retaliatory tariffs by Mexico and China on US beef and pork products will likely pork, posting 42 percent growth in the first half of 2018. Halstrom said overall population growth, middle-income growth, and economic expansion in markets such as Japan, Korea, and Mexico bode well for US beef and pork exports. "These economies are doing pretty well, which helps generate more demand. Per capita consump- tion for our products is on the rise." At the same time, Africa rep- resents an emerging market for US beef and pork exports, he said. "In particular, the regions of western and southern Africa are starting to pop on the radar. We've actually been doing quite a bit of work there dating back to 2014. The first couple of years had almost no activity. But if you look at 2017, mainly in western and southern Africa, it was our fourth-largest destination regionally for beef prod- ucts last year. We're starting to see some shifts to places like Ghana and Angola and South Africa." Because it boasts the youngest demographic along with a very fast growing population, "Africa is an area to keep our eye on," he added. start showing up in statistics from July onward. In the meantime, the USMEF is maintaining communication with federal officials. "We're spending a lot of time making sure the USDA [US Department of Agriculture] and US Trade Representative both know what our members are seeing and hearing, as well as what we're hear- ing from our overseas offices." Although the USMEF is not a lob- bying organization, he said, "Never- theless, we do relay what the markets are telling us, and they're telling us that there is a lot of concern." That being said, "There is reason for optimism," Halstron said. "It sounds like progress is being made on NAFTA 2.0. There's still work to be done, but the tone has been more positive in recent weeks." From his perspective, Alex McKallor, executive vice presi- dent and chief operating officer of Lynden Inc., said, "We are definitely hearing concerns from our seafood customers and seeing some changes in shipping patterns, which may be driven by concerns over trade policy "Africa is an area to keep our eye on." Shutterstock.com

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