Asian markets are allowing U.S. meat exports to thrive

U.S. meat exports are thriving during the pandemic.

For pork, exports are on track to break record numbers this year. So far, exports jumped 16 percent compared to 2019.

Shipments to China are up, along with other Asian customers like Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan.

Experts say that the reason for higher sales is because pork cuts are cheaper than beef. It is helping customers as their budgets tighten during the pandemic.

As Asian customers show more interest in buying U.S. pork and beef, one former diplomat says that there are many reasons to be optimistic about future trade with countries in the South Pacific.

According to Anja Manuel, “The Vietnamese are very savvy and very pro-business, very pro-U.S. They don’t like the Chinese very much, and they’ve been striking free trade deals all over the place and their economy is growing fast. So, I definitely think that’s going to be a good market for you going forward. The Philippines is slightly more complicated. It’s also growing at 6, sometimes 7 percent a year. That one is a little bit more politically sensitive, but yes, ultimately, it’s a fast growing market. It’s a market that wants to be open, and I think will be a good place for you to sell your product going forward.”

The U.S. Meat Export Federation says that exports to Vietnam more than tripled last year’s volume. The Philippines remains the region’s largest destination for U.S. pork with exports up 8 percent from a year ago in volume and 13 percent higher in value.