Uden: Trade remains top NCBA issue
Foreign trade and establishing new bilateral trade deals is the top issue for the new National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President. Craig Uden tells Brownfield Japan, Canada, and Mexico are the top beef export destinations, and maintaining that trade is vital to the industry. “That’s an equivalent of over a billion dollars a year worth of beef moving through those countries, so as we look at trade, and the top three are representing somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 to 40 percent of our beef export market, we have to have that on our radar and we have to keep addressing that. It will be our top priority.”
He says the Trans-PacificPartnership would have reduced tariffs in places like Japan. “Australia is our competitor with Japan, and TPP would have lowered our tariff. We pay a 38-and-a-half percent tariff to Japan. They’re paying 27-and-a-half. Their (Australia) herds are down because of drought, but now it’s starting to rain and they’re going to start rebuilding their herds, so we have an opportunity here to address trade on all levels, but we don’t have a lot of time.”
Uden tells Brownfield he’s pleased President Trump has already met with Japanese and Canadian leaders to discuss trade and that cattle producers saw a price increase in January. “We had a 25% increase, okay, of prices from when we hit that wonderful low there last fall, and that’s almost unheard of. We’ve only hit it about five times in the last 30-35 years, to see that kind of a sharp increase and it was well needed, so it puts some stability back in the market.”
Uden says he is not sure how long the price increase will last because there is a lot of beef, pork, and poultry on the market which could bring prices down again unless foreign markets buy more. Uden says there are only 331 million people in the United States and the beef industry is back to 31-point-2 million cows, with a lot of that growth was built on trade.