Industry At A Glance: How important is U.S. beef trade with Canada and Mexico?

Both Canada and Mexico have long been solid beef trading partners with the United States.

A Handbook for Ranch Managers  Frédéric Bastiat is given credit for having said, “When Goods Don’t Cross Borders, Armies Will.” And he was right. If there is any one “key” to peace on earth it is free and open trade. People are reluctant to fight the people they trade with.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualBut be very careful as to what you accept as “free trade.” Trade “agreements” (like the purposefully miss-named NAFTA, for example) are NOT “free” trade. They are “managed” trade–not the same thing by a long shot.

 by Nevil Speer at Beef Magazine

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewWith respect to international trade, the most important news of recent weeks revolves around the WTO country of original labeling (COOL) decision. WTO has ruled for the final time; the organization upheld previous decisions that COOL is in violation of international trade law.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3) Accordingly, there are now broad calls to repeal the law to ensure avoidance of systematic tariff retaliation from Canada and Mexico.

However, given the law’s history and avid support, doing so might prove somewhat difficult (never mind the WTO ruling). The fallout from here remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, perhaps some perspective around beef trade with our NAFTA partners might inject some important data to the discussion. As such, this week’s illustration highlights annual beef imports and exports with Canada and Mexico.

Following BSE in 2003, our trade balance with our trading partners turned sharply negative in 2004 and 2005. Getting export activity started again proved very challenging and time consuming across the globe.

However, that wasn’t necessarily the case with Canada and Mexico; by 2006, beef trade balance had turned positive with the two countries—the U.S. was exporting more value than it was importing.

u.s. beef trade with canada and mexico

And before the dollar’s bold run beginning in 2014, thereby hampering exports, beef’s trade balance with Canada and Mexico was approximately $600 million annually for three years running.

That level is equivalent to adding approximately $30 to $35 per head for every fed steer and heifer slaughtered in the U.S. Given those perspectives, what’s your overall perception of beef trade with Canada and Mexico?

If the U.S. doesn’t repeal COOL, what impact might that have on the market?  Where do you see beef trade with our NAFTA partners headed in the year(s) to come? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualPlanned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual. This is the ideal squeal to A Handbook for Ranch Managers.  Although the ecological principles remain the same, what was originally known as “The Savory Grazing Method” now answers to a multitude of different names: ranching for profit, holistic management, managed grazing, mob grazing, management intensive grazing, etc. Land & Livestock International, Inc. uses “Restoration Grazing” under its “Managing the Ranch as a Business” program.” No mater what you call it, this summary and synopsis will guide you step by step through the process and teach you how to use it as it was originally intended. No more excuses for failing to complete your grazing plans.


About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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