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AMI Vice President of International Trade Delivers Address at USDA Forum

Friday, February 22, 2008

(American Meat Institute)

AMI’s Vice President of International Trade John Reddington delivered the keynote address today during USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum 2008 Livestock Luncheon in Arlington, Virginia.

Reddington spoke on the U.S. government’s initiatives to re-open foreign markets.  He noted that world population growth will exceed 7 billion people by 2015 and most of that growth will be in China, India and Indonesia.  Global beef and pork consumption will increase by more than 20,000 tons during that same period.

“The United States’ ability to compete will depend on the U.S. government being able to re-open markets that were closed due to BSE and to countries following international standards and using sound science in applying those standards,” Reddington said.

In 2007, U.S. beef exports were only at 73 percent of what they were prior to 2004. There have been some significant gains in some countries, yet packer/processor margins finished close to the red for most of the industry in 2007 partly due to continued loss of the major Asian markets of Japan, S. Korea and China. 

“2008 should prove to be a better year, as a weak U.S. dollar combined with the industry expectations that the U.S. government will complete negotiations with many of those Asian markets should lift US exports closer to the pre BSE exports of $3.5 billion,” Reddington predicted.

The luncheon was attended by more than 300 people from government, industry, academia and press, with guests from many foreign governments and academia.

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