Great Britain’s National Pig Association (NPA) recently issued a dire warning to consumers about the possibility that Europe will see a major shortage of pork products in 2013, citing Europe’s declines in sow herds over the past year. The NPA says this trend could worsen next year due to higher feed costs, new animal welfare regulations and other factors.

Erin Borror, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) economist, discussed the implications such a shortage could have on global pork trade and on the U.S. industry. She says only a small volume of U.S. pork is exported to Europe due to restrictive production requirements, import quotas and significant duties imposed by the European Union, and this is not expected to change in the near future.

However, the U.S. pork industry competes with Europe in some very important, high-value export markets. For this reason, any decline in Europe’s ability to serve customers in these markets could further expand export opportunities for U.S. pork.