Last year, U.S. beef exports to the Middle East grew by more than one-third in volume and more than 75 percent in value – exceeding $260 million. With political and social unrest affecting several Middle Eastern countries in 2011, many observers questioned whether U.S. beef exports to the region would continue to grow at such a remarkable pace.
Through the first quarter of the year, however, beef exports to the Middle East have shown no signs of slowing down. Exports are up another 35 percent in volume and 63 percent in value compared to their 2010 pace.
U.S. Meat Export Federation Chairman Keith Miller, a farmer-stockman from Great Bend, Kan., says he is extremely pleased with the strong performance of the Middle Eastern markets, which has helped keep the global value of U.S. beef exports on a record pace so far this year. He adds that political unrest in Egypt was of particular concern for him, because it is by far the largest export market in the region and is an especially strong destination for beef livers and other variety meat – products that command relatively low domestic demand. But so far in 2011, variety meat exports to Egypt are up more than 50 percent in value to $28.3 million, while muscle cut export value to Egypt has nearly doubled to $12.4 million.