U.S. pork exports set a record for amount of product shipped for the third straight year in 2003, according to figures from the U.S. Meat Export Federation (MEF) (Table 1).

Last year, 833,696 tons of pork (including pork variety meats) were exported, exceeding 2002 totals of 799,132 tons by 4%. The record set in 2001 was 773,328 tons of pork shipped. This is the 13th straight year of increased pork exports.

The value of pork exports posted a new record in '03, increasing 5% to $1.582 billion.

The Center for Agriculture and Rural Development at Iowa State University says U.S. pork prices were $23/head higher in 2003 due to pork exports.

Sales to Japan, the number one market for U.S. pork exports, fell 1% to 296,583 tons after five consecutive, record-breaking years. Value plummeted 8% to $784.2 million. Still, 2003 was the second-best year for pork exports to Japan in volume and the third-best year in value.

Pork exports to Mexico rose for the fourth consecutive year, showing a small increase over 2002 at 240,820 tons. Value was 17% higher, setting a new record of $295 million.

Table 1. Leading Markets for U.S. Pork, Pork Variety Meat Exports (2003)1
Country/Area Quantity (mt) % Chg Value (U.S. $000) % Chg
Japan 269,621 -1% $784,185 -8%
Mexico 218,927 0% $294,995 17%
Canada 97,883 23% $211,122 19%
China/Hong Kong 56,667 21% $60,181 18%
South Korea 28,852 21% $79,219 94%
Taiwan 25,964 21% $33,870 27%
Central/S. America 17,220 7% $30,649 8%
European Union 15,257 55% $38,364 107%
Russia 7,433 -53% $7,985 -63%
Caribbean 5,999 -12% $12,489 8%
Total Worldwide Exports 757,905 4% $1,582,315 5%
1Quantities are based on metric tons. One metric ton equals 1.1 U.S. short tons. Values are described in thousands of dollars.