In July 2010 E-mail to NCBE, Tyson Executive Saw “Very Little Opportunity” in Beef Export Plan
Note: Tyson Foods is the largest exporter of beef from the United States.
In response to an e-mail from the National Center for Beef Excellence, Roel Andriessen — Tyson’s senior vice president of international sales — stated his views on a Saint Louis beef export hub bluntly: beef is not eligible for export to China, and air freighting beef and pork to the country was “unlikely” to be a successful business model. (emphasis mine)
From: Andriessen, Roel
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 4:21 PM
To: Ricketts, Rex E.
Subject: RE: National Center for Beef Excellence NCBE and China Hub Commission
At this moment, I see very little opportunity for the following reasons:
1. Currently, US Beef and Beef VM products have no access to the China market (BSE related). It is uncertain if and when US-China negotiations for Beef access will be concluded.
2. Currently, US Pork (muscle meat) is unable to compete with cheap Chinese pork. China has a domestic oversupply situation that is unlikely to disappear soon.
3. US Pork frozen VM items that are shipped to China typically are very cheap and the vessel versus air freight economics would not work.
Although we do not specialize in this type of business, opportunities for air freighting Beef (and to a lesser extent Pork) would have to come from niche business for the upscale Hotel and Restaurant sector that would take high end quality cuts, once market access for Beef has been established and / or US Pork cuts are economically priced.
Sorry not to have a more positive outlook for this project but this is the current state of the China market as we see it today for our business. Things can always change but, also based on experiences in other markets for US Beef and Pork, airfreight seems unlikely for this business
Original, as received from the China Hub, is below.
Why are key proponents of this legislation making beef one of the main arguments for Aerotropolis when not only is beef ineligible for export to China, but it turns out that the biggest player in the U.S. beef export business told the NCBE as much? That Mr. Andriessen panned the air freighted beef-to-China idea raises even more questions about the feasibility of the project, even if beef weren’t barred from export.
And as for the NCBE itself, I’m not sure what’s worse: that this “national beef center” would choose to release its “study” after the special session, or that the NCBE — closely connected to the University of Missouri — stood by for the last year without correcting the public record on this export-beef-to-China meme. The NCBE is directly subsidized by the Missouri Agriculture Small Business Development Authority for the China Hub project and is further associated with investigators at the University of Missouri. When were taxpayers going to get the straight story on beef?