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New record for U.S. pork exports in 2005

Agriculture.com Staff 01/23/2006 @ 1:30pm

With official results in through November, the U.S. pork industry set a new exports record for the fifteenth consecutive year in 2005, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

The U.S. exported over one million metric tons of pork valued at $2.4 billion in 2005. That compares to 1991 exports of 181,361 metric tons of pork valued at $387 million.

Japan, the largest U.S. pork customer, bought 326,00 metric tons. Mexico, the second largest buyer of U.S. pork, purchased 297,507 metric tons, and Canada with 119,282 metric tons was the third largest customer last year. Also, Hong Kong/China together bought 82,238 metric tons. Korea imported 64,385 metric tons of U.S. pork.

Lynn Heinze, USMEF spokesman, told Agriculture Online on Monday the $2.4 billion value of the 2005 exports was attributed to the 15% increase in Japan purchases of U.S. pork.

"In Japan, we are selling a premium product that is being marketed alongside a domestic product that is highly valued. Instead of being used as a price-cutter in the middle of the week, our product is being featured as a premium product toward the weekend," Heinze said.

In Mexico, the U.S. pork industry has relied on delivering messages of high quality pork, high safety and high wholesomeness of the U.S. product. In addition, providing additional pork recipes and nutritional information has benefited sales in Mexico, Heinze said.

In Korea, additional chilled products have been price competitive with domestic products.

When asked what impact the Japan border closing to U.S. beef has had on U.S. pork exports, Heinze said it has helped the U.S. promote the pork products to Japanese consumers.

"When the border first closed on U.S. beef, the Japanese consumers considered U.S. pork as a substitute to U.S. beef. That has changed now, as time has gone on. We are able to market U.S. pork as a premium product.

With official results in through November, the U.S. pork industry set a new exports record for the fifteenth consecutive year in 2005, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

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