Interest in U.S. pork was brisk at the 13th World Food Moscow, say U.S. Meat Export Federation officials. Moscow's food show was Sept. 21-24 and attracted more then 50,000 attendees, including Russian importers, distributors and processors.

The fact that the Russian market closed to Brazilian pork four days prior to the show only sharpened the interest in U.S. pork. Several U.S. companies told USMEF staff that they sold out of items they could export to Russia through the end of the year at the show. Russian buyers were interested in all U.S. pork cuts from out-of-quota variety meats, jowls, liver, backfat and temple meat to picnics, trimmings and hams. Since several Russian companies had not utilized their U.S. pork quota, the show was an ideal place to match up with U.S. suppliers.

Nevertheless, Monty Brown, USMEF Europe/Russia pork consultant, still doubts that the United States will supply sufficient volume to fill its 42,000-metric-ton quota in the few remaining weeks of the year. Brown also reports trade rumors that some Russian companies had managed to switch their U.S. quota allocation to cheap pork from Brazil, since Russia's ban on Brazilian pork was lifted following the show. “It will be interesting to see the Russian import figures for pork from Brazil and how they compare to their quota allocation at year's end,” commented Brown.

The Russian pork industry has stabilized in the last couple of years. In 2003, the United States exported 7,433 metric tons of pork, valued at $7.9 million. According to USMEF, the federation has worked to create partnerships based on mutual trust between buyer and seller.

Three USMEF member companies — Farmland, John Morrell and ATI International — exhibited at the USMEF booth. A number of other USMEF member companies — Tyson, Cargill Meat Solutions, MetaFoods, Mirasco, Porky Products, Interra, Boston Agrex and AJC International — also attended the show.

U.S. Meat Export Federation