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US Meat Export Federation discusses opportunities for improvement in international meat marketing

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Denver, Colo. – Countries all over the world are implementing very progressive marketing strategies for their meat exportation. The United States’ status in global meat exportation and meeting the demands of international consumers is less than it was 10 years ago. 

“A lot of people look at the U.S.’s exports, and they seem to think we don’t really have a lot of competition with meat exportation,” stated Philip Seng, president and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). “Competition the U.S. has in the international marketplace is formidable.”

Seng spoke at the International Livestock Congress that took place in Denver, Colo. on Jan. 14 in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show.


Countries that have a very forceful influence in the global meat market are Australia, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand. 

These countries are able to excel their meat exportation drastically through the use of their international marketing strategies, trade shows and promotion of their products. 

Australia implements a clean and safe campaign and traceability. This campaign talks about preserving nature and the safety of their meat. 

Australia is also very active in the meat markets of Indonesia, Middle East and Asia. 

New Zealand uses the niche market of grass-fed beef for their international consumers. The slogan they use is “Fed by the Greater Nature.” 

They also attend global trade shows and seminars to promote their products.

NAFTA countries

Canada exports a lot of their meat to the Japanese markets and focuses on selling their beef more to a retail and restaurant level. 

“Canada uses a lot of advertising and promotions talking about their delicious Canada foods,” said Seng. “Their slogan is ‘Present from Great Nation Canada.’”

Another North American Free Trade Agreement partner, Mexico, is very aggressive in the foreign meat market, increasing their exports 46 percent per year in the last five years. 

Mexico also focuses on the meat markets in Japan, Korea and various other markets in north Asia. 

“People don’t seem to realize internationally Mexico’s contributions to the foreign meat markets,” explained Seng. “Mexico does a lot of trade shows and promotions to accomplish this.”

Seng added, “Mexico’s slogan on their products is ‘Tasty Beef from the Sunshine Country.’”

Meat markets

“What a lot of these countries are doing is taking a form and making it familiar,” described Seng. “When it comes to standard specifications, these countries are very adaptable and will also meet any of the specifications of whatever country they are dealing in.”

Asian market

A commonality between these countries is that they sell their meat products to the Asian meat markets.

The population in this region has risen exponentially in the last decade and is expected to be a phenomenal marketplace to enter to.

“China is getting further and further behind when it comes to beef production,” asserted Seng. “They’re also one of the largest consumers of beef in the world.”

Predictions have been made with China’s projected massive middle class that they will become a major buying power of beef globally. 

“These are the people that are switching from cereals to proteins, primarily beef and pork,” said Seng. “It’s no accident that all countries are focusing their meat exportation to Asia.”

Other markets

“We are starting to see the Irish, French, Dutch, Polish and other countries that are now applying and being approved to sell their products in Japan,” said Seng. “We are starting to see a very aggressive push by a lot of European markets in the Asian theater, as well.”

While the U.S.’s competition in the meat market is very export-focused, their domestic markets primarily receive the residual of their export base.

“Australians export over 60 percent of their production, and New Zealand exports over 80 percent of their production,” stated Seng. 

The U.S. though focuses more on its domestic market and then addresses exporting meat internationally. 


Consumers in the world today are very technologically savvy, and many of them are completing their shopping using technology instead of going to the store. 

“In Japan today they have this electronic retailing, called e-tailing, and it is larger than the single largest store in Japan,” stated Seng. 

Through e-tailing consumers in Japan can have their purchases delivered to their door by spending at least 5,000 yen – equivalent to about $50. 

 “We need to be doing more to understand those consumers,” said Seng. “If we are going to be a factor in these markets tomorrow, we have got to get started today.”

Japan is also very populated with CVS convenience store outlets, which retail a tremendous amount of meat to consumers. There are over 50,000 CVS stores in Japan. 

Increasing exportation

One of the setbacks to the U.S.’s involvement with the global meat market is their budget. The U.S. budget for beef exportation is equivalent to the budget of 1991. 

“Our mission at the USMEF is to increase the value and profitability of U.S. beef, pork and lamb industries by enhancing the demand of these products and to export them into a dynamic partnership of all stakeholders,” explained Seng.

In the past, the USMEF has also implemented educational seminars in China. 

The U.S. is seeing more difficulty with their beef exportation due to the 2003 bovine spongiform encephalitis, (BSE) case. Still today, the world’s perception of U.S. beef is still slightly uncertain. 

Ten years after the 2003 BSE case, it has been estimated a total of $30 billion was lost to the beef industry. 

“The U.S. is still doing a lot of activities trying to recover in the market from that BSE case,” said Seng. “In 2007, 22 percent of consumers had confidence in U.S. products. Today, that confidence has gone up to 65 percent.” 

Madeline Robinson is the assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at

Trade agreements

Current trade agreements are taking place amongst countries to obtain better beef exportation. 

One of those agreements is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) amongst Europe and the U.S. 

Another agreement in the works is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This partnership is comprised of 12 countries primarily in the pacific region. 

“About 40 percent of global output and about a third of global trade is involved with TPP,” said U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Philip Seng. “The U.S. became involved with it three years ago.”

The 20-year-old trade North American Free Trade Agreement is also still in place between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. 

“About 40 percent of the U.S.’s exports go to the north and south of us,” said Seng. “It is very important in how the U.S. deals with Mexico and Canada on moving forward.” 


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