As Trump alters trade, US pet food exports uncertain

President Trump’s revision of US trade relationships casts doubts on the future of US pet food exports, according to AFIA speaker at the International Production and Processing Expo.

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(Javier Brosch | Bigstock.com)
(Javier Brosch | Bigstock.com)

The US market remains the largest in the global pet food industry, but US’ share of the global pet export market has shrunk since 2011. Now, President Trump’s revision of US trade relationships casts doubts on the future of US pet food exports, according to Gina Tumbarello of the American Feed Industry Association during her Pet Food Conference presentation at the International Production and Processing Expo on January 31 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

France leads the world in pet food exports, followed by Germany, according to Gina Tumbarello of the American Feed Industry Association in her IPPE presentation. The US held that second place spot until 2015, but is now in third place. The Netherlands has increased its pet food exports and is now approaching US numbers.

Since 2011, US pet food exports have also lost market share along with volume. US pet food exports declined from 11.4 percent of the market in 2011 to 9.5 percent in 2015. US pet food exports declined by 11 thousand metric tons (TMT) between 2011 and 2015, representing a decrease of US$32 million in value.

Trump’s influence on international pet food market

With the withdrawal of US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), President Trump changed the potential outlook for US pet food exports to TPP member countries, which include Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia and others. The TPP would have reduced tariffs on dog and cat food, said Tumbarello. The trade deal would also have addressed phytosanitary issues.

In 2015, the US pet food industry exported 286 TMT of pet food to TPP member countries with a value of US$967 million.

Top markets for US pet food exports

Canada hold the top spot for US pet food exports, followed by Japan, Mexico, Australia and the Philippines. Canadian imports of US pet food may not be affected much by the US withdrawal from the TPP.

Meanwhile, US export to Japan have been losing ground in recent years. Thailand’s pet food exports to Japan have grown from 270 TMT in 2011 to 430 TMT in 2015.

Pet food and TPP

When the TPP was under consideration during the Obama administration, the Pet Food Institute (PFI) supported the potential trade deal. PFI joined 220 US food and agriculture stakeholder groups in writing a letter urging House and Senate leadership to ratify the agreement.

"The TPP Agreement will increase the ability of U.S. pet food makers to establish and expand their presence throughout the Asia-Pacific region by reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers and by requiring transparent, science-based regulation," said a PFI representative on their website. "These changes will make U.S. pet food more accessible and more competitive throughout these key export markets, which will in turn support the creation of many new jobs right here at home."

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