Following the record-breaking year 2001, which saw a 20 percent increase in U.S. pork exports, 2002 increased upon that record by 3 percent.

According to statistics just released by USDA, U.S. pork exports, including variety meats totaled 726,484 metric tons in 2002, up from 702,042 metric tons in 2001. The value of U.S. pork exports fell 3 percent to $1.504 billion.

U.S. pork sales to Japan had their fifth consecutive record-breaking year for sales volume. Exports to Japan were 5 percent higher in volume and 1 percent lower in value.

The U.S. also had a third successive record year in Mexico, its second largest market behind Japan, breaking the records set in 2000 and 2001. U.S. pork exports to Mexico totaled 217,909 metric tons, a 7 percent increase over 2001. Lower prices meant that the value of U.S. pork exports to Mexico fell 12 percent to $252 million.

Beef exports dipped 3 percent from 2001 in 2002, but the total of 1.23 million metric tons was exceeded only in 2000 and 2001.

Here are the numbers on the top 5 U.S. pork export markets for 2002:

US Meat Export Federation