U.S. pork exports reached 799,913 tons in 2002 – a new export record worth $1.5 billion. Exports to Japan, the largest market for U.S. pork exports, rose 5% to 298,241 tons. Exports to Mexico, the second-largest destination for U.S. pork, climbed by 7% to 239,700 tons.

The record of U.S. pork exports is impressive considering it competes against cheap pork exports from Brazil and Canada, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

The U.S. also faces major hurdles in its ability to ship product to its top two trading partners.

Pork exports to Japan are severely restricted by a gate price system and safeguards designed to protect Japanese producers, according to NPPC.

Mexico initiated a dumping case against U.S. pork in early 2003. NPPC is working through legal and political channels to have the dumping case terminated, says NPPC.

The U.S. must also compete globally with subsidized pork from the European Union and other countries.