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  • OTVI.USA
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American ShipperShippingTrade and Compliance

U.S. beef, lamb exports rise in May

China’s import duty rate on U.S. beef increased from 12 percent to 37 percent this past Friday.

   U.S. beef and lamb exports increased in volumes and value in May from a year prior, despite the nation experiencing a modest decline in pork exports in terms of volumes and value, according to data provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
   Beef exports refer to beef and beef variety meat; pork exports refer to pork and pork variety meat; and lamb exports refer to lamb, mutton and lamb variety meat.
   During the month, the U.S. exported 117,871 metric tons of beef valued at $722.1 million, climbing 11.9 percent and 24 percent year-over-year, respectively. Japan was the leading market for U.S. beef exports in terms of volumes and value during the month, with beef exports to the nation totaling 30,117 metric tons valued at $196.8 million.
   Meanwhile, U.S. beef exports to China, which totaled 834 metric tons in May, were the largest since the market opened in June 2017.
   However, China’s import duty rate on U.S. beef increased from 12 percent to 37 percent this past Friday. “The higher tariff will make it difficult for end-users to profitably utilize U.S. beef, especially with U.S. beef already priced at a premium compared to imports from other suppliers and with Australian beef subject to a duty of just 7.2 percent through the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement,” the USMEF said.
   Overall U.S. pork volumes in May totaled 217,209 metric tons valued at $562.5 million, slipping 2.2 percent and 3.5 percent year-over-year, respectively. Mexico was the leading volumes market for U.S. pork exports at 70,589 metric tons, while Japan was the leading value market at $144.8 million.
   However, Mexico in June imposed a 10 percent duty on fresh and frozen pork muscle cuts from the U.S., with the rate increasing to 20 percent this past Thursday. Also in June, Mexico levied a 15 percent duty on U.S. pork sausages and a 20 percent duty on some prepared hams, although these rates did not increase this past Thursday, and opened a duty-free quota aimed at attracting imports from non-U.S. suppliers.
   U.S. pork exports to China in May totaled 21,526 metric tons valued at $53.2 million, down 37.1 percent and 27.3 percent year-over-year, respectively. The USMEF said that exports to China will face an even steeper challenge in the second half of 2018, as China recently hiked the duty rate on U.S. pork by another 25 percent, meaning that U.S. pork cuts and pork variety meat entering China now face a duty rate of 62 percent, compared to 12 percent for China’s other suppliers, including the European Union, Brazil and Canada.
   “USMEF is focusing on the factors we can control by partnering with U.S. packers and exporters to make every effort to defend our market share and protect our business in Mexico and China,” USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom said. “USMEF also consistently stresses the importance of diversifying our export markets and expanding U.S. pork’s footprint into emerging markets, and those efforts are more critical than ever.”
   Meanwhile, overall U.S. lamb exports in May totaled 998 metric tons valued at $1.8 million, surging 57.4 percent and 10.4 percent year-over-year, respectively. As usual, Mexico was the leading market for U.S. lamb exports during the month in terms of volume and value, with the United States exporting 819 metric tons of beef valued at $847,000 to that country.