It seems foreign markets can’t get enough U.S. pork or beef. With foreign demand surging, new export records continue to be set each month. Pork exports alone reached 387.2 million pounds in April.  The previous record of 346 million pounds was set in February. Total pork exports for 2008 are up an impressive 52 percent over the year prior, equaling 1.38 billion pounds valued at $1.4 billion.

“U.S. pork has set export records for 16 consecutive years, and there’s no sign that the world’s appetite for U.S. pork is slackening one bit,” said Erin Daley, manager of research and analysis for the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Daley noted that for the first four months of 2008, exports accounted for 22 percent of total U.S. pork and pork variety meat production, versus 16.5 percent last year. Total pork exports for 2008 are expected to be 36 percent higher than last year.

At the same time, U.S. beef exports are enjoying their own surge.  Exports of beef and beef variety meat jumped 31 percent in volume and nearly 39 percent in value in April 2008 over the same month in 2007. Beef exports, not including variety meat, for the first four months of 2008 increased 36 percent to 358 million pounds, a 39 percent increase in value to $704 million.

2008 Pork Highlights
• Japan is still the top market with total pork exports up 17 percent to 319.5 million pounds valued at $460 million.   
• The China/Hong Kong region follows closely with exports of 319.2 million pounds valued at $243.5 million.
• Exports to Mexico are up 10 percent to 228.5 million pounds but still lag record 2006 volumes by 16 percent.
• A new record in Russia as well, with April volumes at 40.7 million pounds.
• Exports to Canada are up 24 percent to 117.6 million pounds.
• Exports to South Korea are up 12 percent to 107 million pounds.

2008 Beef Highlights
• Mexico holds the No. 1 position, with beef exports up 14 percent to 148.2 million pounds.
• Exports to Canada are up 53 percent to 90.1 million pounds.
• Japan’s beef imports from the United States are up 48 percent to 35 million pounds.
• The ASEAN region, led by Vietnam, took 395 percent more beef with exports totaling 30.2 million pounds.
• Exports to Taiwan increased 29 percent to 18.4 million pounds.

Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation