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NCBA senior director of international trade provides updates

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) hosted its 2022 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting July 25-27 in Reno, Nev. Cattle industry members met to discuss a variety of topics impacting the industry.  

NCBA Senior Director of International Trade and Market Access Kent Bacus highlighted trade and beef exports, United Kingdom trade conversations, the southeast Asia trade outlook and benefits of trade for producers.  

“For the beef industry, 2022 has definitely been a great year for us on the export side,” said Bacus. “So, a lot of what we’ve been trying to do is capitalize on all of the strong demand for U.S. beef.”

Globally, there has been tightened global supplies, and trade policies in Japan, Korea and China have provided the U.S. with access to demanding markets, he noted. 

“A lot of what we’ve been trying to do is implement our terms of access into those countries, but also looking forward to engage in new opportunities,” he shared. “The Biden administration has taken a slightly different approach compared to previous administrations when it comes to trade. They are not as eager to talk about removing tariffs but they are looking to engage in some of the non-tariff issues.” 

“As NCBA looks at the Indo-Pacific economic framework and other ventures, we’re going to look for opportunities to remove non-tariff barriers and try to capitalize even more on the strong goal of demand for U.S. beef,” he added.

United Kingdom
and southeast Asia 

When it comes to the United Kingdom, NCBA sees a great opportunity to establish a strong bilateral trade relationship, said Bacus. 

“We think there is still a lot of need and interest on both sides to engage in those discussions, so we are taking the opportunity to reach out and find like-minded interest in the United Kingdom, and to really educate them about our industry,” Bacus said. “There has been a lot of misinformation out there over the years so we’ve been trying to set the record straight.”

“We’re going to continue to engage into the fall and next year and hopefully, with change in leadership within the British government, it might renew some interest within our own government to reengage,” said Bacus.

There is a tremendous amount of growth in potential protein exports in southeast Asia, but it also comes with challenges and barriers. The industry is competing with not only other beef producing countries, but also with pork and chicken.

“We see a lot of opportunity, but we still have a lot of barriers in countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, so we want to continue to look for different trade policies to help us open those markets,” he mentioned.

Other factors impacting trade in these parts of the world include food insecurity and livestock disease. 

“This creates a great opportunity for U.S. producers, so we really want to use trade policy to try to capitalize on the growth and maximize our presence in those markets,” he said.  

Trade agreement benefits

Bacus noted there are several benefits to trade agreements when looking at long-term negotiations. 

“When looking at trade agreements – you’re not looking at the immediate gain – you’re looking at the long-term advantages,” he said. 

He said in 2022 the U.S. hit the 10-year anniversary in its trade agreement with Korea, Columbia and Panama. In each of these markets, the industry faced massively high tariffs and had very restricted sales, but now the U.S. is a growing protein source in a lot of these places. 

“In Korea, the industry faced a 40 percent tariff, but we also faced a lot of non-tariff barriers,” he mentioned. “These trade agreements and trade policies help remove those barriers.” 

“These trade agreements have really opened up those opportunities,” concluded Bacus. “They deliver value back to producers.” 

Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to 

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