Despite the tariff gap, United States’ beef exports are projected to have a bright future in Japan in 2016. For years, US beef has been playing second-fiddle to Australian exports mainly because of the tariff reduction agreements between it and Japan. However, this advantage was negated by the strong showing of the US dollar vs the Japanese Yen and the Australian Dollar.
“The exchange rate situation is not quite as severe as last year, but the strong U.S. dollar is a reality that we simply have to manage through,” says Philip Seng, president and CEO of U.S. Meat Export Federation, Beef Magazine reports. “This means reclaiming customers based on the unique, high-quality attributes of U.S. beef and working each and every day to build loyalty among Japanese consumers.”
In recent years, the United States has been intensifying its herd-rebuilding efforts in recent years, and it has been paying off. Slaughter rates have been rising in throughout the country, while the availability of US beef cuts has increased – these are then exported to Asia to meet the ever-rising demand. It has effectively erased fears that United States beef supplies are not able to provide ample amounts of the meat throughout the year.
Beef in Japan is a big deal. Apparently, US beef accounts for at least 20% of the Japanese beef consumption. In comparison, 40% are consumed domestically. However, beef prices in the East Asian country rose in the past few years with limited supplies.
“Last year those fears were intensified by the West Coast port crisis, which made it difficult to get chilled beef cuts to Asia in a timely fashion,” Seng said. “But now, Japanese buyers are feeling more confident about their ability to secure U.S. beef.”
Note that Japan is also home to wagyu and kobe beefs, premium types of beef known for their amazing taste and juiciness. Despite the quality of beef the country produces, the country still imports beef from other countries.