The U.S. Meat Export Federation said the inability of the United States to ship beef and pork to Russia continues to put a damper on U.S. red meat exports this year.
In May, total U.S. beef (muscle cut and variety meat) exports rose 3
percent over last year’s levels to 97,820 metric tons. The value of those exports were $513.6
million, a 9 percent increase over May 2012. They accounted for 10 percent of beef
muscle cut production and 12.7 percent of beef and variety meat
production, similar levels to last year.
Excluding Russia, beef export volume for May increased 12 percent and export volume for the first five months of 2013 rose 3.5 percent instead of falling 3 percent.
Pork exports were down 3 percent in
volume and 3.6 percent in value, USMEF said. It added that May pork exports increased 3.5 percent in volume over last year’s totals if Russia is excluded. For January through May 2013, export volume would be down 5.8 percent instead of 9 percent, if Russia is not included. An oversupply of domestic pork in many major export markets is a challenge to U.S. exports.
“The loss of a key market like Russia ripples through the red meat industry,” said USMEF President and Chief Executive Officer Philip Seng. “The absence of one of the largest meat purchasers in the world affects the volume of product sold and, more importantly, the price that other customers need to pay for it in a competitive marketplace.”
In February, Russia banned U.S. meat because of concern over the use
of ractopamine, a growth stimulant used to make meat leaner.
Earlier this week, Russia's chief sanitary inspector Gennady Onishchenko complained to the Moscow Times
newspaper that the United States was trying to use political and administrative pressure to overturn the ban instead of going to an international court
The newspaper quoted him as saying, "There is a very dangerous trend (of not allowing a country to offer a scientifically justified rejection of a WTO rule). This weakens the potential of individual WTO members to prove the unacceptability of any particular rule, considering the specifics of food stuffs, life and nutritional balance." - Chris Dupin