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World Meat Congress: Ag Ministers, Economists, Negotiators
Iowa Ag Connection - 04/16/2018

The premier gathering of red meat industry leaders from across the globe is coming to Dallas, Texas, May 31 to June 1. The 2018 World Meat Congress (WMC) is hosted by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the International Meat Secretariat. The WMC is a biennial event, with this year's theme being "Trusting in Trade."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will deliver the WMC's opening keynote presentation, focusing on the challenges of feeding a growing world as well as trade policy initiatives undertaken by the Trump administration.

Secretary Perdue's address will be followed by Argentine Agriculture Minister Luis Miguel Etchevehere, who will discuss Argentina's recent transition to a pro-trade economic philosophy for its agricultural sector, and Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay, who will explain Canada's approach to agricultural trade and how the Canadian production model compares to that of its competitors.

"For many years Argentina pursued a policy of managed trade that imposed restrictions on agricultural exports, but with a change in government it is now pursuing an export-driven agenda that has significantly improved the outlook for Argentina's agricultural economy," said Seng. "Canada's positions on red meat trade are also of great interest to WMC attendees, especially given its new trade agreement with the EU, its role in the TPP-11 agreement and the ongoing NAFTA negotiations."

Leading economic experts will share their insights with WMC participants in a session titled, A World of Change: Factors Affecting Red Meat Trade.

Moderated by USMEF Economist Erin Borror, this session's panelists include Amy Xu, head of purchasing for COFCO Meat Group Inc.'s trade department, Daniil Khotko, leading analyst at IKAR LLC in Russia, Pablo Sherwell, head of RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness for North America and Michael Drury, chief economist for McVean Trading and Investments. Topics addressed will include:

- Factors shaping China's red meat market over the near and medium term, including the current rebound in domestic pork production and whether there is room for further growth in pork consumption; whether China's booming demand for imported beef will continue to gain momentum; and the projected impact of higher tariffs on U.S. pork and proposed tariffs on U.S. beef and soybeans.

- Challenges faced by Russia's pork producers and whether investment in the Russian pork industry is sufficient to sustain expansion; how is this situation impacted by the suspension of pork and beef imports from Brazil -- which is now in its fifth month?

- Mexico's cattle and hog sectors have attracted significant investment, but what are the prospects for production growth and related implications for global trade? Does this include diversification of Mexico's red meat exports and imports beyond the United States?

- From a macroeconomic standpoint, what is the near-to-medium term outlook for the global economy and what factors or uncertainties are most likely to impact demand for red meat?

Trade policy will also be front-and-center at the WMC as a distinguished panel of experts will exchange views on the likely future direction of the global trading system. Moderated by Ambassador Darci Vetter, former chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the panel will include Kenneth Smith Ramos, chief NAFTA negotiator for the Mexican Ministry of the Economy, and Jean-Marc Trarieux, who heads the office that manages trade issues with North and South America for the European Commission's Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development. Trarieux formerly served as the Directorate General's representative in Washington, D.C. USTR has also been invited to provide the Trump administration's perspective on current trade negotiations and policy initiatives.

"With NAFTA negotiations reaching a critical phase and the United States, Mexico and the European Union engaged in a wide range of trade talks, this session will truly offer a view from the front lines of negotiations that will shape global trade for years to come," Seng said. "We also look forward to gaining expert insights on the future direction of the World Trade Organization and the rules-based trading system."

Additional activities offered at the conclusion of the WMC allow attendees to participate in a cattle ranch tour, experience American barbecue or spend a day getting to know historic Fort Worth. Additional information is available online and space is limited, so make your tour reservations soon.

For registration information, the full WMC agenda and other details, visit www.2018wmc.com. Register now -- the standard rate deadline is April 20 and pre-registration closes May 14.

The World Meat Congress, hosted by the International Meat Secretariat (IMS) and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), is the foremost assembly of the world's meat industry, designed as a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences on key issues affecting the international meat and livestock sector. The meeting, held biennially, attracts approximately 700 delegates, from 30 nations. Attendees are composed of livestock producer associations; national and regional meat, feedgrain and oilseed associations; meat exporter associations; meat processing companies, government, farm organizations and corporate partners.

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