Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, just returned from the Philippines where he met with importers, processors and other prospective buyers at World Food Expo (WOFEX), the Philippines' largest food exhibition.
Haggard notes that U.S. beef export growth to the Philippines is being driven in part by the proliferation of Korean-style barbecue restaurants, which utilize large volumes of U.S. beef short plate – a cut that attracts little domestic demand but is very popular in Asia. Through the first half of 2019, U.S. beef exports to the Philippines totaled nearly 10,000 metric tons, up 19% from a year ago, valued at $46.5 million (up 12%).
First-half pork exports to the Philippines trended lower year-over-year, but Haggard anticipates an uptick in activity in the second half of 2019.
On July 1, the Philippines suspended imports from its largest pork supplier, Germany, due to alleged comingling of German pork with Polish pork products, which are banned from the Philippines due to the presence of African swine fever (ASF) in Poland.
This week the Philippine Department of Agriculture is reportedly investigating recent swine deaths and testing these animals for ASF, but officials emphasized that no ASF cases have been confirmed in the Philippines. Haggard also explains that prices for European pork are likely to increase in the second half of the year as China's ASF-related pork shortage intensifies, further enhancing opportunities for U.S. pork in the Philippines.