Evaluating the Trade Impacts of Bovine Spongiform Ecephalopathy (BSE) Using Historical Simulations

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Virginia Tech

In December of 2003, the US Secretary of Agriculture announced the presence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) within a cow in the state of Washington. The announcement prompted the stoppage of beef imports by some of the US’s largest traditional beef trading partners, resulting in sizeable losses to industry. While this was the first confirmed case of BSE reported in the United States, the international policy response was significant in nearly every major U.S. beef export market. NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada opened their markets to U.S. beef rather quickly following the announcement. However, other markets, including many of the top US export destinations such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China, remained closed for much longer periods and China’s market remained closed until September 2016. In this paper, a partial equilibrium model of global meat production and trade is developed to conduct a series of historical simulations over the period 2001 to 2013 to capture the observed impacts of the BSE outbreak on global meat trade. Then a set of counter-factual experiments are constructed that adjusts the changes in preferences and technical change in the historical simulation to determine what beef meat trade would have looked like if the BSE outbreak had not occurred. Over the 2004-2013 period, total US beef exports would have been approximately 2 million metric tons higher and the total value of beef exports would have been $6.1 billion higher if the BSE outbreak had not occurred. Canadian beef exports would also have been 350,000 metric tons higher and with the total value of exports increasing by $1.7 billion if the BSE outbreak had not occurred. Conversely, the value of beef exports from Australia, New Zealand, the EU, and South America would have be substantially lower.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, historical simulation, import ban, sanitary regulations