Russia’s accession into the World Trade Organization should bolster exports of U.S. beef and pork to that country, which has prove to be one of this year’s hottest markets for U.S. red meats through May, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Following a record performance in 2011, beef exports to Russia were up 24 percent in volume (71.2 million pounds) and 83 percent in value ($138.8 million) compared to January-May 2011. Though not on a record pace, pork exports to Russia have also been very strong, outpacing last year’s performance by 35 percent in volume (86.3 million pounds) and value ($115 million).
The Russian Parliament in late July passed legislation required to complete its accession to the WTO, which means that many of the trade commitments Russia agreed to as part of its WTO accession will take effect Aug. 23.
Thad Lively, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for trade access, explains that a primary benefit to the U.S. meat industry is that the duty rate Russia charges on in-quota imports of U.S. pork will drop from 15 percent to zero. As the United States is now a participant in the large (400,000 metric ton) global pork quota rather than still having its own smaller country-specific quota, this will clear the way for more U.S. pork to enter Russia on a duty-free basis.
“That’ll make significant difference because Brazil has had an advantage over the U.S. and other suppliers,” Lively said in a USMEF audio report. “That advantage goes away, and we’ll all be playing on a level playing field at a zero tariff.”
For U.S. beef exports to Russia, the duty on frozen muscle cuts will remain unchanged at 15 percent. However, the U.S. beef industry is already benefiting from the WTO accession because of Russia's commitment to increase the quota on U.S. beef imports from 40,000 metric tons last year to 60,000 metric tons in 2012. Though most U.S. beef exports to Russia are frozen, the U.S. industry may also be able to capitalize on a new 11,000 metric ton quota for chilled beef from suppliers outside of the European Union.
Lively notes that the final step is for the U.S. Congress to extend permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to Russia. He expects a vote to take place on this issue when Congress returns from its August recess
Back to News Headlines