A coalition of trade associations wants the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association to start contract discussions early. Those groups, which represent dock workers and the companies that own West Coast port facilities, in 2014 and into early 2015 were involved in labor talks and a work slowdown that negatively affected U.S. exporters. The five-year contract extension signed last year expires in 2019. The 113 organizations representing trade and agribusiness groups are asking the parties to conclude labor talks before the expiration of the current contract.

Consumers in Asia are set to buy more U.S. beef as demand moves away from more expensive meats from Australia. The U.S. Meat Export Federation says Japan will likely be the region's fastest-growing market for U.S. meat this year. Japan is Asia’s largest beef importer, and USMEF predicts a nine percent increase in U.S. exports to Japan. The Federation also expects sales to South Korea and Taiwan to expand this year as the U.S. has more supplies and prices are coming down while there is less Australian product on the market, driving their prices up.

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