U.S. pork exports in 2001 set a new record, increasing shipments by 20% over the previous record set in 2000.

Exports, including pork variety meats, totaled 738,833 tons, up from 613,746 tons for 2000, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (MEF).

The value of U.S. pork exports also set a record at $1.5 billion, 16% higher than in 2000.

The leading pork export market was Japan, climbing 23% in volume to 281,617 tons and 14% in value to $855.6 million, the fourth consecutive record year in volume and the third consecutive record year in value.

Mexico was the second largest pork export market in 2001. Sales were a record 209,990 tons, 9% above the year earlier. Value increased 10% to $269.1 million, a new record.