Through May, U.S. pork exports were 6.6 percent smaller than in 2001, when U.S. pork exports were inflated by Europe’s foot-and-mouth disease problems, says Jim Mintert, Kansas State University agricultural economist.

Mintert expects pork exports to continue to lag through the end of the year, due in part to Japan’s decision to put the Safeguard tariff back in place until March 2003. The tariff effectively raises the price Japanese consumers pay by about 25 percent.

The tariff apparently was triggered by an increase in Japanese pork imports in June, says Mintert.

U.S.net pork exports have fallen even more dramatically this year, as pork imports have risen at the same time exports were falling.

“Net U.S. pork exports from January to May totaled 245 million pounds, down 30 percent from last year’s 350 million pounds,” says Mintert.

Pork imports rose 17 percent from a year ago, largely due to resumed trade with Denmark, after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease last year brought most Danish exports to a halt, according to Mintert.

U.S. hog imports from Canada continue to run well ahead of a year ago. Through May, the United States imported 2.46 million hogs from Canada, 18 percent ahead of last year’s pace.