With US beef sales expanding rapidly in a section of the globe that stretches all the way from West Africa to Kazakhstan, USMEF has secured the services of a second representative located in Cairo, Egypt, in addition to USMEF’s longtime regional representative based in Beirut, Lebanon.
Mr Halstrom says that social and political unrest in the Middle East has done very little to slow demand for US beef.
Through July, beef exports to the region are down slightly in volume (about 201 million pounds) but are still 8 per cent ahead of last year’s record pace in terms of value at $202 million.
The region has long been a mainstay market for US variety meats such as livers, hearts and kidneys, and those exports are up nearly 20 per cent in value to $92 million.
Beef muscle cut exports to the Middle East have grown impressively in recent years – and though volume has slipped in 2012, muscle cut export value is still slightly higher than last year at $110 million.
Mr Halstrom says one of the reasons muscle cut export volume is lower this year has been lack of access to Saudi Arabia, which is the only foreign market to have closed to US beef as a result of the April 24 BSE case detected in California.
He notes that this market closure has been particularly frustrating for some small US companies that specialise in serving Saudi Arabia, and USMEF is working with US trade officials to regain access.
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