The Philippines has emerged as one of this year’s fastest growing markets for U.S. pork and beef exports. Regulatory issues slowed shipments to this market in 2012, due in part to pressure from the domestic livestock industry to curb imports. But demand has rebounded in a big way, as U.S. pork exports through the first quarter were up 57 percent in volume (11,739 metric tons) from a year ago and surged 44 percent higher in value ($28.1 million). Beef exports were up 27 percent in volume (3,696 metric tons) and 42 percent in value ($16.2 million).
Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for marketing and communications, explains that protein demand in the Philippines is far outpacing the domestic supply, and the U.S. industry is capitalizing on this opportunity. He says the Philippines has long been a solid customer of U.S. pork and beef for further processing, but is now importing more high-quality muscle cuts to support its growing hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sector. Tourism is driving much of the growth in this sector, especially in popular areas such as Cebu Island (pronounced say-boo) and Tagaytay City, which frequently serve as venues for USMEF promotional activities.