COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus, first emerged in 2019 in a seafood and poultry market in Wuhan, China. The disease rapidly spread, reaching across six continents.
Asian nations begin to mend, after battling the virus for several months, and United States red meat exports stand to benefit.
U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) officials report “good signs” coming from Asian nations such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China. Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), sheds light on current trading relations.
“People are getting back to work, and restaurants are reopening. It’s by no means normal. But with people out in restaurants, it’s returning at a fast trendline,” Halstrom said.
Current demand is “not the same as it was pre-coronavirus,” shares Halstrom. However, it is moving in the right direction.
“If you look at the January statistics for pork, we were up 36-percent off of last year. In the case of beef, (we were) up slightly,” Halstrom said.
“Early dynamics and indicators are positive,” says Halstrom. He anticipates demand for red meat exports to grow.
“The bottomline for everybody involved is there’s still demand out there. And let’s not forget about African Swine Fever throughout the world,” Halstrom said. “We have a severe shortage of protein. It’s not real evident because all of the focus (is) on coronavirus. But the reality is roughly 25-percent of the world’s hogs aren’t there, as compared to a year ago, due to ASF. There will be increased demand for imports globally, specifically for pork, but also for poultry and beef.”