Mériaux made the remarks at the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) annual conference in Glasgow on Saturday 16 April.
Mériaux gave the Scottish red meat industry a Europe-wide outlook on the meat trade and said the lower global prices of meat will put pressure on EU exports and prices. With Europe’s consumption of meat per capita expected to decline, he said there would be many challenges facing Europe’s meat exporting industry. But a fall in European consumption may be offset, to a certain extent, by rising global demand for meat, according to Mériaux.
No profit for US beef
As far as the US goes, the country is not a major exporter of beef into Europe, so a drop of between 20% or 30% would not have a big impact on Europe, but the drop would hit US meat packers, said Mériaux.
The drop is expected because the US does not wish to comply with EU requirements for exports. One of these requirements is that the meat exported to Europe, in this case beef, should be hormone-free. According to Mériaux, producing hormone-free beef for Europe is expensive and requires a lot of paperwork. And, due to “economic circumstances”, there is not much profit for US beef exporters to make by trading beef with Europe in the immediate future, he said.
According to the most recent data from the US Meat Export Federation, the European Union imported around 1,490 metric tonnes of beef from the US in February 2016. This generated around $17,908 for America.