U.S. pork became a favorite among international consumers in 2005, thanks to strong promotional efforts led by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

“Our focus on U.S. pork has assisted in generating a 13 percent worldwide increase in U.S. pork and pork variety meat export volume in addition to a 19 percent increase in value in the first 11 months of 2005,” says Brett Stuart, USMEF director, trade analysis.

With U.S. beef back in Japan, and recent concern about an ongoing investigation by the Japan Ministry of Finance related to tariff manipulation of pork imports, there is concern Japanese pork, especially frozen pork, imports will decrease.

With an expanding future for chilled U.S pork exports, however, an optimistic confidence exists that U.S. pork will maintain a strong presence in the Japanese market. USMEF will continue to educate traders about the advantages of carrying chilled U.S. pork.

“With the new year and the market reopening to U.S. beef, some are feeling pessimistic about the continued success of U.S. pork, but there should be no fear. Consumers have gained a taste and desire for U.S. pork, due to the trust and loyalty we have been able to achieve through our promotions, and I don’t see that going away,” says USMEF-Japan Senior Marketing Director Takemichi Yamashoji.\

Persistent USMEF strategic marketing activities, such as seminars, retail promotions and educational events about the safety and high quality of U.S. pork have already resulted in a substantial increase in overall demand of U.S. pork in Japan, Korea, Mexico and Russia.

The export demand in Korea showed an increase in U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports in the first 11 months of 2005 with a 178 percent increase in volume at 64,385 metric tons and a 198 percent increase in value at $139.6 million.

In Mexico, USMEF has maintained the growth in consumption of U.S pork through the implementation of an advertising campaign called ¨El Cerdo es Bueno¨ (Pork is Good).

Mexico is currently the second largest market for U.S. pork and is an example of a market that has shown that U.S. pork exports can continue to increase despite the re-entry of beef. Mexico reopened its border to U.S. beef in March 2004 after a three-month closure and experienced one of the sharpest increases ever in U.S. pork exports. Reopening markets to U.S. beef does not have to hinder U.S. pork sales – instead it has the potential of continuing its success and in some cases increasing it.

USMEF has also held a variety of U.S. pork activities in Russia. A month-long festival at restaurants located in three different five-star hotels and six other top restaurants was held to gain excitement and promote the safety and tenderness of U.S. pork. U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports to Russia have increased 61 percent in volume at 38,275 mt and a 86 percent increase in value at $69.9 million through the first 11 months of 2005 compared to the first 11 months of 2004.