Though down from 2012 record levels, pork exports last year exceeded $6 billion, fueling optimism about demand prospects for the remainder of 2014, the Pork Checkoff suggests.
At the end of 2013, 4.73 billion pounds of pork and pork variety meats valued at $6.05 billion dollars had been exported, down 5% and 4%, respectively, from 2012.
"Even though we saw a decrease in some markets in 2013, we continue to see incredible export opportunities," said Brian Zimmerman, chair of the Pork Checkoff's Trade Committee. "An increase in the global population and a growing middle class in countries that enjoy pork gives pig farmers a bright outlook. We expect demand to continue to grow in the year ahead."
Related: Chinese Pork Market Has Big Export Potential for U.S.
Mexico, Central and South America and the ASEAN region posted particularly strong results to bring the December's totals up slightly from levels of a year ago. In addition, through December total exports to South Korea, Australia and New Zealand were the highest of the year.
Trade agreements add optimism
Current negotiations for two additional free trade agreements – the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – could positively impact U.S. pork exports, the Checkoff says.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership could open and expand markets in the Asia Pacific region, with high potential to increase exports to Japan, Vietnam and Australia. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a trade agreement with the European Union, could also greatly increase U.S. pork sales.
• The top five markets in total pounds of pork exported were: Mexico (1.4 billion pounds), Japan (937 million pounds), China and Hong Kong (920 million pounds), Canada (501 million pounds), and Central and South America (268 million pounds).
• The top five markets in total dollar value exported were: Japan ($1.885 billion), Mexico ($1.22 billion), China and Hong Kong ($903 million), Canada ($844 million), and Central and South America ($306 million).
Meanwhile, demand at home also grew by 5.6% in 2013. According to calculations from Pork Checkoff economist Dr. Steve Meyer, domestic real per capita expenditures increased nearly every month in 2013.
Related: Pork Quality Drives Consumers
The Checkoff says education campaigns, the adoption of new pork cut names, and reinforcement of pork's ideal cooking temperature were key consumer messages.
"New domestic product marketing opportunities combined with growing interest from Mexico, Japan and China – our top three global markets – is helping U.S. pork farmers introduce quality pork to consumers down the street and around the globe," Zimmerman said.
Source: Pork Checkoff