Blocked Markets Fail to Deter U.S. Chicken Exporters

Somewhat miraculously, the U.S. barely missed a beat in terms of its chicken meat exports in the first half of this year compared to last, despite falling out with its two biggest customers.

Somewhat miraculously, the U.S. barely missed a beat in terms of its chicken meat exports in the first half of this year compared to last, despite falling out with its two biggest customers.

Total exports of frozen chicken in the first six months of this year amounted to 1.32 million tonnes, only 14 percent below year-earlier levels, according to latest customs data compiled by F.O. Licht for our sister publication Agra Europe.

The data show that shipments of chicken cuts to China dropped to just 47,250 tonnes in January-June, compared with over 373,000 tonnes during the same period a year earlier. Similarly, sales to Russia dropped to one tenth of last year's volume - from 336,000 to 34,100 tonnes.

An avalanche of exports to just eight countries –– Mexico, Georgia, Taiwan, Angola, South Korea, the Philippines, Congo and Vietnam, which between them took an extra 172,300 tonnes in the six-month period –– made up almost 30 percent of the total shortfall.

At 220,100 tonnes, Hong Kong alone took another 156,000 tonnes extra, and was by far the biggest single buyer.

Cuba was persuaded to take double its year-earlier volume in June (16,200 tonnes), while the same happened in Ukraine (13,500 tonnes).

It is small wonder, therefore, that U.S. exporting companies have not been too concerned about their markets, and also that small consumers like the Philippine and Pakistan industries are complaining loudly again about their domestic market being destroyed by imports. 

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