International Beef Alliance 2019 Conference Statement

Members of the International Beef Alliance (IBA), comprising the cattle producer organisations from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay and the United States, met for their annual conference in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, 26–30 May 2019.
Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Alliance members account for 64% of the world’s beef exports and are encouraged by the forecast of a 25% increase in future global beef imports.  However, an increasingly disruptive global trade environment may hamper a response to this demand.  With uncertainty growing in international trade, it can no longer be assumed that the focus will be on market openness.

In response, the Alliance reconfirmed its commitment to pursuing collaborative trade facilitation initiatives.  The IBA seeks not only to keep markets open, but to pursue more openings – by advocating further trade reform via the elimination of both tariff and non-tariff barriers (NTB).

With NTBs proliferating, the membership called for the alleviation of unscientific and unjustified impediments that create significant distortionary and costly impacts on global beef trade.  IBA members agreed to work together in seeking to remove these obstructions.

The IBA also believes a strong multilateral rules-based trading system helps deliver more certainty to global trade and members committed to continue to work with their respective governments to help strengthen it.

The rules-based system enables consumer choice on a range of products at varying prices and has made a significant contribution to the prosperity of the global beef value chain by allowing beef producers to sell their products to the world.  Alliance members agreed that international platforms such as the World Trade Organization, the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) and Codex Alimentarius should remain objective and science-based.  Greater attention must be focused on preserving the high standards set and preventing non-science-based factors from superseding the scientific-nature of these platforms.

Of critical importance to beef cattle producers is the ongoing commitment to improving the wellbeing of people, our animals and the environment.  IBA members shared insights into their environmental stewardship programs, which not only support sustainability, but also help drive the integrity of beef production and contribute to farm profitability.  A commitment to producing safe, quality beef products in line with consumer expectations underpinned the discussions.

The IBA is an important vehicle for sharing information about the challenges and trends facing the global industry, to ensure that beef remains positioned as a premium and preferred protein.  IBA’s Young Beef Leaders presented perspectives on recent reports canvassing healthy and sustainable diets.  An update on the rise of alternative proteins focusing on product perception, regulatory issues and truth in labelling to avoid misleading consumers, was also discussed.  As producers, IBA members recognized the ongoing need to enhance our natural protein story.

The IBA gratefully acknowledged the hospitality of our Brazilian hosts and members look forward to reconvening in Australia for the 2020 conference.