U.S. meat exporters seek new trade promotion strategy
U.S. meat exporters have devised a trade promotion strategy for consideration by the incoming Obama administration.
Philip Seng, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, presented the strategy during the group’s annual Strategic Planning Conference in Tucson, Ariz. this week.
While U.S. beef and pork exporters have experienced exponential gains in the first eight months of 2008, Seng warned of a lull in the coming months due to the global financial crisis, and that it’s up to the industry to “create our own weather.”
“Red meat exports are one of our avenues to prosperity,” Seng said. “While there are countries suffering from depressed economies and devalued currencies, people in Japan, for example, have $5.5 trillion in personal savings, and banks in Japan and China have $1.5 trillion and $1.9 trillion respectively in foreign currency balances. Our export industry could take a page from Willie Sutton who, when asked why he robbed banks, replied ‘because that’s where the money is.’ The money is in these key export markets.”
The USMEF’s strategic plan for the new president calls for:
' Creating a new sub-cabinet level position with responsibility for all trade-related issues, which would drive the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s export agenda through trade negotiations and export promotion programs, and for ensuring that domestic marketing standards meet the expectations of U.S. export customers.
' Redefining the industry-government partnership in the aftermath of the late December 2003 bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow” disease case, which resulted in substantial international market closures for U.S. beef exports.
' Creating a new approach to funding export market development by introducing a mechanism to collect and administer funds that would be used solely for developing international markets. Agriculture export concerns would remit these funds to the USDA, which would allocate them in combination with USDA funds to the export industry groups based on each industry sector’s contribution to the value of agricultural exports and the agricultural trade value.
' Ensuring that political appointments involved with trade issues have credible international experience.