Beef, as one of the most important products in the global food and beverage industry, plays a vital role in both international trading and export earnings for many of the world’s top beef exporters. With the continuous growth of meat consumption in China and many other major markets across the globe, the world’s top beef exporting countries are expected to continue enjoying further growth for beef.
According to estimates from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, both production and consumption of beef among major countries increased in 2016 and are projected to grow additionally in 2017. Statistics from USDA indicate that the global beef exports totalled 9.439 million tonnes in 2016 – Brazil and India were the two largest exporters of beef in the world, while Australia and the United States followed behind. Together, the top four beef producing countries exported more than 1 million metric tons of beef in 2016, representing about 66% of the world’s total beef exports in that year.
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Over the recent years, Brazil, India, Australia and the U.S. are firmly dominating the global beef exporting market with the highest amount of beef exported. In 2017, these top four beef exporting countries are projected to account for 73% of total exports from the top ten beef exporting countries.
Brazil and India, the current two largest beef exporters in the world, are expected to continue their leading positions in near future, thanks to growing production by Indian beef export companies and growing international market demand with favoured access. India became the world’s top beef (buffalo meat) exporter since Modi government came to power, although buffalo slaughter (and cow slaughter) is banned by law in at least four major states in India – the beef ban in India debate intensified in 2016. Brazil is already the largest beef supplier for European and Middle Eastern markets, and now the country is witnessing a growing export volume to China and the US. Meanwhile, India has also enjoyed an increasing beef export to China, following a recently announced trade deal agreement.
Australia has given up its top spot since 2015, due to reduced beef production caused by low Australian cattle numbers and forage rebuilding. But on the bright side, Australia has enjoyed an increased beef export to China, and recently began shipping live cattle to China. The US remains one of the world’s largest beef exporters, however its beef trade performance might face some uncertainties as renegotiating NAFTA and the withdrawal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may put beef exporting in a less favourable situation with restricted access and tariffs in some markets. Also, the US currently has no direct beef exporting access to China.
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