Americans picked a new president in November 2020. The Biden Administration will differ in rhetoric but will likely be similar to the previous administration when it comes to trade policies.
In a WATT Poultry Chat interview, Mark Jordan, executive director of LEAP Market Analytics, shared recent data on the international broiler trade and his predictions for President-elect Joe Biden's trade policies.
Austin Alonzo: Mark, I understand this week you really wanted to talk about the boiler trade and how it might be affected by the recent election in the United States?
Mark Jordan: We'll jump right in. We had a data point from last week, an update on U.S. broiler exports for September, and I thought the number was pretty strong, fairly encouraging for the sector, 618 million pounds in September, and that was about a 7% increase year over year. And if you look year to date, U.S. broiler exports are about three and a half percent ahead of the 2019 pace.
Given the headwinds with the global pandemic, I think that's a solid number. And I've got a chart here, for viewers to check out looking at trade over the last several years. Obviously, 2014-15 was kind of a rough patch, with losing Russia business, and then also China initially, and a lot of that was tied into the bird flu outbreak that year. And then the last three, four or five years have been kind of a steady, slow growth.
We're not back to those peak levels prior to that, but certainly on a on a good trajectory. And I think this year has been somewhat encouraging.
China has been really the story of 2020. Trade there opened back up late – about a year ago at this time, actually, when they lifted their ban on imports of U.S. poultry. And it took a couple months to get going. But overall this year, the numbers have really been strong, of course China is battling issues with African swine fever and have had a pretty steep protein deficit as a result. So, our cumulative shipments to China this year are up 434 million pounds from 2019. All other destinations down 259 million pounds. So, it just kind of illustrates what kind of effect China has had on the overall situation.
Now taking all that kind of more market level stuff. And then thinking about the election, of course, we're still trying to get the final results from that. I know there's two runoffs in Georgia and people are starting to kind of formulate thoughts about what President-elect Biden is going to do and how the next year or two or actually three or four years are going to look like.
I think this is an area – I think trade policy and maybe in terms of how this might affect agricultural trade. I don't see the two, there's certainly going to be some stark differences between the two presidencies, and I think, certainly rhetorically between the Trump administration and the Biden administration, there's probably going to be some stark differences.
But this is an area I don't think substance wise, there's going to be as significant of a break. And I think initially certainly I don't see president-elect Biden, as we get through the next few months is going to be trying to shake things up. So, I see a fairly quiet approach here the next few months, and then when he officially gets inaugurated. I'm kind of expecting just a little more calm on that front.
I know, the last few years have been marked – there's been some deals, but there's been also a lot of angst and kind of volatility that has really thrown markets in a tizzy. So, I think President Biden for at least for a year or so is going to kind of play calm and cool. Let some of the things that have been happening kind of sort of happen, keep a steady hand. I could see a year or two in maybe some other priorities have been handled, he looks for some kind of a bipartisan coalition. Maybe he tries to resuscitate, or strike, a new trade deal or two. That's optimistic.
So, I don't see anything negative. Neutral kind of at worst, but I think the meat and poultry sector at large, U.S. broiler industry, maybe should feel reasonably comfortable about what's the trajectory of trade, and what's maybe going to happen the next few years given the you know, given the election outcome here in the U.S.
This transcript is edited for length and clarity