WMC dominated by trade talks

WMC dominated by trade talks

Trade was front and center during the first day of the 22nd World Meat Congress, being held this week in Dallas, Texas. Hosted by the International Meat Secretariat and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), the event attracted more than 700 attendees from at least 48 different countries.

As North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations heat up and the U.S. continues trade negotiations with China, numerous speakers touched on the importance of trade, collaboration and communication and also competition. During opening remarks, Philip Seng, past president of the International Meat Secretariat and chief executive officer emeritus of USMEF, warned against the protectionism that is currently emerging.

Perdue pointed in his speech in front of 750 meat experts from all over the world on productivity in US meat sector, helping developing countries to become developed countries, science based progress in farming and the relevance of a free an open trade for the agricultural sector. Agricultural trade is critical for the U.S. farm sector and the American economy. In 2017, U.S. exports of food and farm products totaled 138.4 billion USD, up from 134.7 in 2016. “By all predictions, it looks like we are on for another record year this coming year," he noted. “President (Donald) Trump campaigned on the promise of getting the U.S. fair trade agreements,” Perdue told the audience. “He’s demonstrated these theories about free and fair trade in matters where he felt the U.S. is not getting a fair deal. He’s made it clear that he will take decisive action to level that playing field. His goal is a free and open market: reciprocal trade. ‘Treat me like you want to be treated.’ “

Argentina's Minister of Agro-industry Luis Miguel Etchevehere noted that his nation knows all too well the negative impact protectionism imposes on agricultural producers, and reversing this damage is a priority for President Mauricio Macri, who was elected in 2015 on a pro-trade agenda.

“I come from a country where a former government prohibited the exportation of beef because of a demagogic policy aimed at having very cheap beef for many years,” Etchevehere explained. “That produced a 12 million-head reduction in our beef cattle stock, and it was a very big mistake. When President Macri arrived, he did the opposite. He opened the economy, and we continue to work on opening markets, because we know that we must have access to enough markets for our industry to reach its full potential.”

Hosted by the International Meat Secretariat and U.S. Meat Export Federation, the 2018 World Meat Congress was held in Dallas, Texas, from May 30 to June 1. This is the world’s premier gathering of beef, pork, lamb and veal industry leaders—including producers, exporters, marketing specialists, policy analysts, economists and meat scientists—coming together to exchange ideas and experiences on key issues affecting the international meat and livestock sector, as well as global trade.