U.S. pork exports established new record export levels in 2000, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (MEF).

U.S. pork exports exceeded the record year, 1998, by almost 41,800 tons, says Philip Seng, president and chief executive officer of MEF. In 2000, the U.S. exported 623,585 tons of pork and pork variety meats, a 12% increase over 1999. Pork export value rose 18% over 1999 to more than $1.3 billion.

Major increases in exports were recorded in the top three markets of Japan, Mexico and Canada. Although hog prices were relatively high in 2000, they were also stable. "Most of our pork exports are purchased by overseas processors who appreciate the safety and consistency of our product," says Seng.

Sales to the Russian Federation rebounded in the final quarter of 2000, totaling over 12,100 tons.

Seng is optimistic that China’s expected entry into the World Trade Organization will produce significant increases in exports to China. "Already in 2000, China is our fourth largest market for pork."

Year 2000 export statistics are available at www.usmef.org/exportstats/exportmain.cfm.