Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Challenging Year for Red Meat Exports to Colombia, but Outlook Improving
DENVER, CO – Sep 28, 2020 – Since the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement entered into force in 2012, Colombia has emerged as a leading importer of U.S. pork and a promising market for U.S. beef. Last year shipments of U.S. pork to Colombia reached nearly 100,000 metric tons valued at $222 million, while beef exports set a new record of 6,724 metric tons valued at $26 million. But 2020 has been a very challenging year for exports to Colombia, due mainly to COVID-19 related restrictions on economic activity but also compounded by a loss in value for the Colombian peso.
Don Mason, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) representative in Colombia, says restaurants and other foodservice operations were hit very hard by COVID-19 restrictions, but activity is gradually beginning to return. Supermarkets and other retail outlets also struggled early on, but retail meat demand rebounded fairly quickly. Mason notes that several retail and foodservice operators turned to USMEF for assistance in upgrading their online presence and delivery services, in order to adjust to changing consumer needs during the pandemic.
Colombia’s meat processing sector – a major user of U.S. pork raw material – has been a bright spot, with facilities facing some labor-related challenges but managing to operate at or near full capacity.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (www.USMEF.org) is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations.
Submitted to the BARN by:
Vice President, Communications
U.S. Meat Export Federation