U.S. pork exports have broken the record set in 2003 — even though data has only been compiled through October 2004, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (MEF).

For January-October 2004, pork exports (including variety meats) rose 34% in volume to 901,960 tons (Figure 1) compared to the same period in 2003, and were 38% higher in value at $1.582 billion.

Pork exports to Japan were 12% higher in volume at 284,529 tons and 20% higher in value at $813.2 million, compared to the first 10 months of 2003.

However, Mexico recorded its fifth-consecutive record year of U.S. pork imports to retain its ranking as the number one destination for U.S. pork exports. For the first 10 months of 2004, pork exports to Mexico reached 314,725 tons, more than 73,700 tons above the whole of 2003. The value of U.S. pork exports to Mexico also set a new record at $445.7 million, compared to $294.9 million for all of 2003.

U.S. pork exports for 2004 are also expected to break records for exports to Canada, China and Taiwan.