U.S. pork exports rose for the 11th straight year in 2002, says Glenn Grimes, professor emeritus, University of Missouri.

A total of 1.614 billion lb. of pork were shipped, 3.5% above figures for 2001.

The top three buyers, Japan, Mexico and Canada, bought 79% of those exports.

Japan bought 48% of the total and 4.6% more than a year earlier. Shipments to Mexico dropped 1.5%, but that was made up by 1.8% more purchases by Canada, says Grimes.

U.S. pork imports in 2002 were the highest since 1988. The U.S. imported 1.07 billion lb. of pork, 82% from Canada and 11.5% from Denmark.

Pork exports equaled a record 8.21% of production, while imports came in at 5.45% of U.S. pork production, says Grimes.