The United States is expected to be the global leader in pork exports in the coming decade, increasing its share of global pork trade from 28% to 32% in 2017, according to 10-year projections released recently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Despite predictions that U.S. pork production will decline in 2009, 2010 and 2011, USDA expects pork exports will continue to grow steadily due to strong global demand and the weak U.S. dollar.

USDA is calling for a 16% increase in U.S. pork exports in 2008 based on China’s domestic production issues and market access restrictions, recovery of exports to Mexico and continued growth of the Russian market.

Exports will rise 4-5% in 2009 through 2014, according to Erin Dailey, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) manager of research and analysis. That prediction assumes approval of the South Korea/United States free trade agreement in 2009 and steady growth in pork exports to Japan.

Overall, USDA forecasts 39% growth in U.S. pork exports over the next 10 years, or an additional 1.18 billion lb., for total exports in 2017 of nearly 4.2 billion lb., up from an estimated total of 3 billion lb. in 2007.