US largest meat producer eyeing expansion into Kazakhstan

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Tyson Foods, the largest U.S. meat producer, says it is eyeing expansion into Kazakhstan as it seeks growth overseas, RFE/RL reported.

“We’ve visited Kazakhstan and have interest in the nation’s future food production efforts. However, we have not formalized plans for a project there,” company spokeswoman Liz Croston said in a statement on May 23.

The Arkansas-based company produces beef, pork, chicken and processed foods, including goods for export. Its poultry subsidiary Cobb-Vantress has a presence in Russia.

“One of our growth strategies is to expand our global business, so it’s not unusual for us to consider various international opportunities,” she said in a statement e-mailed to RFE/RL.

The Financial Times reported on May 23 that Tyson was negotiating a multibillion-dollar investment in beef production in Kazakhstan for potential export to China. The two countries share a nearly 1,800-kilometer border.

Kazakhstan is one of the world’s largest wheat producers, and has millions of hectares of arable lands suitable for livestock grazing. But the country’s agriculture sector has for years been hobbled by major investments to increase exports for either livestock or grain or other produce.

In July 2018, Beijing imposed an additional 25 percent tariff on U.S. beef imports in retaliation for U.S. levies on Chinese goods.

As a result, U.S. beef exports to China “have dropped off precipitously,’’ the United States Department of Agriculture said in an August report.

Sergey Kwan