Friday, December 27, 2013

U.S. loses $5 to $6 billion in meat sales to Russia

The United States meat industry estimates it is losing $5 to $6 billion a year in meat sales since Russia banned imports of beef and pork that has been raised with the help of growth-promoting ractopamine.

That’s a taste of what Canadian beef and pork producers face because the United States has imposed mandatory country-of-origin labelling regulations.

The two sets of protectionist policies indicate why international trade issues are likely to loom large in the coming year.

On the positive side, Canada and the United States are involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations that are designed to liberalize trade with Pacific-Rim countries but may have an even bigger impact for Canada on trade with the United States, particularly if there is any liberalization that will increase competition in Canada’s dairy and poultry sectors.

The U.S. is also negotiating a trade deal with Europe that could also have a major impact on North American agriculture.

And there are renewed hopes that the world trade negotiations can make some progress in reducing trade barriers and subsidies that are costly follies for the global agriculture and food sectors.

As for the Russian ractompamine issue, Meatingplace Magazine reports that U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul in Moscow is exerting pressure on behalf of American meat exporters.