USMEF Celebrates Export Relationship with Japan: Looks Ahead to Next 45 Years of Growth


By Michelle Rook, Drovers††††

September 21, 2022


Leaders of the U.S. Meat Export Federation traveled to Tokyo last week to mark the 45th anniversary of their Japan office.


Japan is consistently a top export customer for U.S. beef and pork both by value and volume. That relationship expanded under the U.S. Japan Trade Agreement, which led to meaningful tariff reductions and has greatly increased the value of each beef and pork carcass.


The U.S. has had tremendous success in Japan the past 45 years, but is now looking ahead to the next 45 years and how to further expand this red meat export market, according to USMEF Chairman Mark Swanson, who is also founder of Tru Grit KGMS Enterprises in Fort Collins, Colo.


"We've had the wonderful opportunity to visit some retail outlets, see the U.S. product on display in the supermarket chains and learn from our importing customers about the value they see in our product and how we might be able to continue to grow the demand for exports in the market," Swanson says.


The 45-year relationship has built a loyalty for U.S. red meat in Japan, says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO.


"It's not easy to get started in Japan. But once you do, and once you supply what you say you're going to supply in terms of quality and consistency, the market is very loyal to our supply sources," he says. "That's one of the big takeaways, markets go up and down in price, but the Japanese market is always here buying on a consistent basis."


The Japan market is also highly competitive, and itís the relationship U.S. farmers have that gives them an advantage, says Dean Meyer, USMEF chair-elect and a livestock and grain producer from Rock Rapids, Iowa...