May 21, 2020
US President Donald Trump proposes to terminate cattle import trade deals
United States President Donald Trump said the country should terminate trade deals which involves cattle imports to assist domestic cattle farmers affected by COVID-19, Reuters reported.
The United States currently imports live cattle from Canada and Mexico for slaughter in American plants owned by Tyson Foods and JBS USA. The imports also help to supplement domestic production at lower prices.
These imports come under the North American trade pact terms renegotiated by Trump. A ban on cattle imports could result in new trade disputes.
The US President conveyed the proposal at an event at the White House to discuss the US$19 billion worth of Congress-approved agricultural relief. He did not specifically explain which trade deals and what countries are involved in his proposal.
Marty Smith, U.S. National Cattlemen's Beef Association president said the US President's suggestion could have been a misunderstanding.
Oswaldo Chazaro, Mexican cattle confederation CNOG head said the integrated beef market has been developed over several years, benefitting all parties. He added that 1.2 million cattle from Mexico were imported to the US in 2019, while at the same time Mexican companies are purchasing higher volumes of beef from the US.
Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State Universitylivestock marketing specialist said a proposed ban could see a rise in competition for US beef exports, adding that Mexico and Canada would not accept the decision.
Mexico's beef industry projects double digit growth for exports to the US in 2020, after the COVID-19 pandemic closed down several US meat plants.
The US imported the most beef from Mexico, followed by Australia and Canada.
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association said the beef trade between both countries is important and mutually beneficial.
On a separate note, Sonny Purdue, US Agriculture Secretary said the aid will be provided by Trump administration to cattle farmers who had no choice but to euthanise livestock when meat plants were closed.