ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

US Pork Celebrates Another Year of Success

by 5m Editor
29 October 2008, at 9:08am

US - It’s another banner season for US pork exports.

After eight months of export statistics have been tabulated, the US pork industry already is celebrating a 17th consecutive record year for exports, and Japan is the early favorite for MVP (Most Valuable Partner) in trade, according to statistics released by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Through the first eight months of 2008, the United States has exported more than 3 billion pounds of pork and pork variety meat valued at more than $3.2 billion. For those keeping score at home, that’s a 5.2 percent jump in volume and a 1.8 percent increase in value of total pork exports compared to the entire 2007 calendar year, and a 71 percent hike in volume and 64 percent in value when compared to the first eight months of 2007.


*
"You can’t overestimate the importance of the Japanese market to the U.S. pork industry. It accounts for 34.9 percent of the value of all U.S. pork muscle cut exports and 30.9 percent of the value of total pork exports, and the opportunity there continues to grow as Japan’s agricultural self-sufficiency continues to decline."
Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO

Leading the way is Japan, the perennial all-star of pork importers. In 2008, Japan has imported more U.S. pork muscle cuts (which account for 86 percent of the value of all U.S. pork exports) than any other nation, totaling $967 million.

Put another way, merely the increase in the value of pork muscle cuts to Japan in 2008 over the same period in 2007 (a 27 percent increase equaling $202.2 million) is enough to qualify it as the fifth-largest export market for US pork behind (of course) Japan, the Greater China region ($419.9 million), Canada ($352.1 million), Mexico ($299.6 million) and Russia ($236.8 million).

“You can’t overestimate the importance of the Japanese market to the US pork industry,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “It accounts for 34.9 percent of the value of all US pork muscle cut exports and 30.9 percent of the value of total pork exports, and the opportunity there continues to grow as Japan’s agricultural self-sufficiency continues to decline.”

This year, the greater China/Hong Kong region has taken over as the leading importer of US pork and variety meat on a volume basis. The 307,903 metric tons (678.8 million pounds) of pork shipped there is a 249 percent increase over exports in the first eight months of 2007, and is 8,626 metric tons (19 million pounds) ahead of Japan’s total for the same time period. However, the value of exports to Japan is 46 percent higher.

Overall, Japan is far and away the leader in the value of pork it imports from the United States on a pound-per-pound basis and it is 42 percent higher than the average value of U.S. pork exports globally.

“Even with this level of growth, there is still more opportunity for expansion in Japan,” said Seng. “There is a view held by many consumers in that market that all imported pork is a commodity product, but USMEF is working to steadily improve the perception of US pork and differentiate its high-quality attributes from other imported pork.”

In the coming weeks, USMEF-Japan will unveil a promotional campaign extolling the fact that Japanese consumers have made U.S. pork the No. 1 imported pork in Japan. The U.S. share of Japan’s pork imports stands at 44 percent, compared to 37 percent last year, making the United States the dominant supplier. Canada is a distant second with 19 percent.

5m Editor