Record exports but trade relations that need to be constantly nurtured and monitored. That’s today’s trade environment, according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
NCBA’s head of international trade Kent Bacus says on a recent podcast during a producer conference, cattle export numbers, like total Ag exports, hit record levels last year. “We will exceed ten billion dollars, which is just a phenomenal record. You think of ten-years ago, when we were close to three and four billion, and now, we’re exceeding ten.”
Or about 400-dollars per head, thanks to increased Asian sales and better trade deals. And that’s despite pandemic challenges, including recent border protests. “The restrictions and travel across the borders, but also a lot of threats to border closures to shutting down different ports of entry in both Canada and Mexico.”
Another issue—congressional proposals to renew Country of Origin Labeling that may still not be WTO compliant.
Mexican Embassy Ag counselor here Luis Martinez, followed by his Canadian counterpart. “We want to make sure we’re not discriminated, we’re treated fairly equally, and we have fair market access into the U.S., and to Canada, as well.”
“We firmly oppose any mandatory Country of Origin labeling. Both Canada and Mexico retain their retaliatory rights under this WTO case, which was litigated for years. In Canada’s case, it’s around 1 billion in retaliation rights, and we still retain these rights, should the United States bring back mandatory COOL.”
NCBA’s Bacus says his group is looking for a voluntary meat labeling system that is WTO compliant.