The World Meat Congress occurs once every two years, and for the first time in 25 years, the congress took place in the United States. Hosted by the International Meat Secretariat and the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the congress took place May 30 to June 1 in Dallas, Texas.
Marty Smith, vice president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), was in attendance. He says he was able to speak to many cattlemen and buyers from around the globe. According to Smith, six continents and 48 countries were represented at the Congress. Attendees included cattle and hog producers, packers, feeders and global buyers.
Smith says most of the time was spent speaking with buyers from different countries. “We were talking about some of the things that do limit trade, like governmental aspects like tariffs, and some of the non-tariff ways that trade is prevented, like different regulatory schemes,” Smith says. He used the European delegation as a delegation with non-tariff related trade barriers. “We’re trying to work through some of that to give us the opportunity to meet with those people first-hand.”
Smith adds that the NCBA also spent some time discussing the North American Free Trade Agreement with delegations from Mexico and Canada.
Furthermore, he had conversations with South Korea about the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The Chinese market was a big conversation as well, according to Smith. “That’s one of the huge markets for everybody,” Smith says. “We see a lot more beef moving there, but at the same time we’re seeing some tariffs being imposed there.”
Overall, Smith describes the congress as a “very positive experience.” He believes it gave the NCBA the opportunity to show the world what the U.S. cattle industry is all about. “We try to get the message across that we’re family-oriented, family-operated businesses,” Smith concludes.
Hear more from Smith: