0328 New COVID Waves Impact Beef Exports

0328 New COVID Waves Impact Beef Exports

Thanks to a new wave of coronavirus moving through Southeast Asia, American producers are finding it more challenging to get red meat into Hong Kong and China.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Joel Haggard who lives in Hong Kong says local authorities want to continue a COVID zero goal, but it appears the city of Hong Kong has abandoned its plan to test every resident for COVID three times for a period of over 9-10 days, which was scheduled to start at the end of March.

“So, where does this leave our meat business here in Hong Kong? Despite glimpses of easing strict social distancing measures remain in place, at least until April 20th. Local regulations require all restaurants outlets to close by 6 p.m., and no more than two dinners per table. So, Hong Kong’s restaurants sector is reeling right now, and hundreds of outlets have closed. Take away and retail are thriving, but supply chain issues there have slowed the delivery of food stuff to the public.”

Meanwhile, Haggard noted in mainland China, officials are very concerned about rising case counts there, triggering a host of city-wide lockdowns in the southern portion of the country.

He says this is impacting meat imports in China in several ways. First, he noted in cities where strict lockdowns are in effect, visiting restaurants is just not possible.

“And the second impact is on the movement of imported meat for ports to central warehouses and then out to end users, creating a net negative for overall meat consumption in imports. Everyone’s hoping this wave will be short-term and the return to normalcy will return soon.”

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