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U.S. Red Meat Symposium Provides Deep Dive into Mexican Market

Published: Jun 26, 2024

With U.S. red meat exports reaching record levels in Mexico, USMEF held the inaugural U.S. Red Meat Symposium in Mexico City June 13-14 to examine its economic and political climate, highlight the market’s continued growth potential and explore emerging opportunities for U.S. red meat. USMEF Chair Randy Spronk and Secretary/Treasurer Dave Bruntz participated, along with key USMEF staff from Mexico and the Denver headquarters, to emphasize the industry’s commitment to this critical market.

“Mexico is a very important customer for us, especially with its potential for undervalued cuts,” says Spronk.  “The turnout for this symposium was outstanding, we even had to limit the number of importers who could attend. I expect it will become a recurring event for the industry.”

An important component of the symposium was the face-to-face networking opportunities for U.S. suppliers and Mexican importers, including product displays and samplings. Also featured were influential speakers who offered assessments on U.S.-Mexico trade relations, Mexico’s agricultural production and digital trends in the meat industry.

Left: Kenneth Smith Ramos, who served as Mexico’s chief negotiator for the modernization of NAFTA, offered insights into Mexico’s trade policy and political and economic outlooks. Right: USMEF Chair Randy Spronk provides final remarks about the two-day symposium in Mexico City.
Members of the USMEF delegation, including USMEF Chair Randy Spronk (far left) and Secretary/Treasurer Dave Bruntz (second from left), tour a Mexico City wet market. Also pictured are (from left) Ohio Pork Council Treasurer Nathan Schroeder, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam and Nebraska Beef Council board member Michele Cutler.

"There’s uncertainty on exporters’ minds related to the recent presidential election, while importers were asking about our cattle cycle,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “But mostly, buyers and sellers were talking about demand. Some may see Mexico as a mature market, but it is still a growing market. As reflected by the market tours, presentations and trade discussions these past two days, there are new and emerging opportunities here for our products.”

Jonn Slette, the director of USDA’s Agricultural Trade Office in Mexico City, also sees Mexico as a growth market.

“I would say that Mexico is still a developing market. Over 60% of Mexicans are still at or below the poverty line and as they move into the middle class, that’s where our growth is going to be,” says Slette.

Funding support for the symposium was provided by the National Pork Board, the Beef Checkoff Program, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, Nebraska Beef Council and USDA’s Market Access Program.