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U.S. Pork Export Data Shows Progress, But Challenges Remain

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U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports totaled $1.8 billion in value and 1.26 billion pounds in volume for the first four months of 2016, down 9 percent in value and unchanged in volume compared to the same time period last year.

“U.S. pork exports are gaining strength this year but will still face challenges with increased global competition and a stronger U.S. dollar,” said Becca Nepple, VP of international marketing for the Pork Checkoff. “The Checkoff is committed to bolstering its partnership with international customers through additional funding of in-country promotions of U.S. pork with the U.S. Meat Export Federation.”

Looking at April data alone, U.S. exports to China (excluding Hong Kong) surpassed export volume to Japan for the first time. Combined exports to China and Hong Kong for the first four months of 2016 were up 78 percent in volume (up 117 percent for China alone) and 54 percent in value.

“Central America also has been an emerging and important destination for U.S. pork exports as the U.S. pork industry has focused on market development and value-added promotions,” Nepple said.

For January through April, exports to the region were up 22 percent in volume and 23 percent in value compared to 2015.

“However, exports in volume to Mexico, Japan and South Korea were below last year during the same time period. Development and relationship-building programs are working toward regaining lost market share due to the West Coast port slowdown, ongoing competition and currency challenges,” said Nepple.

On average, through April, U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports accounted for 24 percent of total pork production. Export value averaged $45.73 per head back to pork producers.

The top U.S. pork export markets during the first quarter of 2016 were Mexico (470.4 million pounds and $355.9 million in value), Hong Kong/China (389.2 million pounds and $330.6 million in value), Japan (281.8 million pounds and $489.9 million in value), Canada (139.3 million pounds and $239.1 million on value), South Korea (113 million in pounds and $129.4 million in value) and Central/South America (81.5 million pounds and $86.7 million in value).

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