New Zealand trade officials are watching the escalating trade war between the US and China with mounting concern and anxiety.
Beef+Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor says globally the meat market is in a very fluid situation. He says while the Chinese market has picked up, the situation in the US remains challenging.
McIvor points to the fact that many meat processing plants in the US have closed down. A plant, which produces about 5% of pork in the US, is one of these – due to the fact that 300 staff had tested positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, a large beef processing facility in Colorado has also closed down for the same reason and a US meat industry leader there says: “meat supply is perilously close to the edge”.
McIvor says the situation in America is tumultuous and unpredictable. He says the problems range from a lack of containers to problems at some ports and disruptions to supply chains.
“We still know the fundamental supply and demand is still good for red meat, it’s just how things change and operate in the short term.”
McIvor says NZ processors are doing a good job but will have to monitor and track their product carefully to ensure it gets to market. He says this will require agility.