U.S. Beef Exports are Growing, but so are Trade Risks

January 2018 -

Key Points

  • The U.S. beef herd is expanding and so are U.S. exports.
  • However, the potential for trade agreement re-shuffling poses considerable risk for U.S. beef exporters.
  • The top five destinations for U.S. beef account for 83 percent of U.S. exports. Four of the five countries are at risk of trade disruption related to TPP, NAFTA and KORUS.
    Annual U.S. Beef Exports
  • Southern hemisphere competitors are also rebuilding herds, and will challenge the U.S. for export market share in the coming years.
  • China is the global beef trade’s prize market. The U.S. is unlikely to realize major export gains to China in the near-term, but longer-term growth may depend on meeting China’s trade requirements.
  • The future of U.S. trade is uncertain. But the strength of U.S. beef demand, and the relatively small share of production that is exported, will partially insulate U.S. beef from potential trade disruptions.

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