The US Department of Agriculture has completed and released the first full quarter worth of data on US meat exports for 2019. After two years of record exports, the ride is slowing down while supplies are rising. Failure to be part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is beginning to catch up with Exports to Japan.
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The Bottom line for meat exports, according to Livestock Marketing Information Center Senior Economist Jim Robb, is that the numbers are disappointing.
Robb reports that exports in all three proteins were down in March contrary to expectations that they would actually be up. On a tonnage basis, US beef exports saw a 6 percent decline year over year in aggregate – much weaker than anticipated.
Robb points out that while beef exports to key markets Mexico and South Korea were up during this period, overwhelmingly lower exports to Japan contributed to the negative outcome of this report.
Robb says the US’s absence from the TPP agreement is finally starting to catch up with us – its impact he believes is at the heart of this unexpected decline. Now, whether or not this dip in exports is just an anomaly or the start of a longer-term downward trend remains to be seen, but Robb suspects once the US finalizes some trade agreements of its own, things might begin to pick up.
On Friday, The US Rollback of aluminum and Steel Tariffs to Mexico and Canada may pave the way for signing the USMCA or NAFTA 2.0.