The forecast that the United States, the world’s leading pork exporter, is expected to dominate the global pork market over the next decade, comes as no surprise to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

USMEF, based in Denver, CO, works diligently in international markets to increase demand for U.S. pork.

“Pork is the most widely consumed protein in the world, and U.S. pork has quality advantages that set it apart from the competition,” USMEF President and CEO Phil Seng says. “We communicate the U.S. pork story every day to importers, meat buyers and consumers, increasing awareness of U.S. pork’s nutritional value, safety and superior quality.”

The latest issue of Agricultural Outlook, produced each July by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, reports that the U.S. share of global pork exports will approach 30% by 2016. The report says one in every 3.4 lb. of pork traded in the world will come from the United States.

U.S. pork exports have set record sales the past 15 years, supporting growth in the industry, and this trend is expected to continue through the next decade. During the past 15 years, tremendous gains in efficiency resulting in a 55% increase in pork production per breeding animal have positioned the U.S. industry as the leading global supplier.

“Along with the U.S. pork industry, we realize this past success is not a time to rest on our laurels,” states Seng. “We must use the superior qualities of U.S. pork to our advantage to position it above the competition to continue export growth.”

The value of U.S. pork exports has grown from 7% of production in 2000 to more than 15% today, to projections of 20% of production in 2016.

“Consumers in South Korea, for example, can purchase U.S. pork at a lower cost than domestic product, but are not sacrificing product quality,” Seng says. “Export markets provide a higher return to U.S. pork producers on selected products than if those products were sold domestically.”

Fueling export growth has been the relative weakness of the U.S. dollar to other global pork competitors. The euro has been trading at record highs against the U.S. dollar, and similar situations exist with the Canadian dollar, Brazilian real and Chilean peso.

The EU-27 is projected to be the second-largest pork exporter, but Brazil is expected to surpass the European Union by 2016. The biggest variable for Brazil continues to be its disease status. Brazil still faces foot-and-mouth disease restrictions in Russia, its largest pork export market.

Eu-27 pork exports are expected to decline due to increased growth in domestic demand, rising feed and other input costs, costly environmental and animal welfare regulations and the relatively strong euro, according to USMEF.

Canadian pork exports in 2016 are expected to drop 2% vs. its 2006 export volume, with exports falling from 46% of production to 38% of production over the next 10 years. Canada’s share of global pork exports is forecasted to fall from 20% in 2006 to 15.6% in 2016, as the industry is buffeted by recent losses due to the strong Canadian dollar and high labor and feed costs.

In terms of pork imports, Japan is expected to remain the top pork importing country, accounting for a fourth of global pork imports.

“In Japan, we have been successful with our latest consumer campaign of making U.S. pork an everyday protein source,” says Seng. “This consumer education has helped position Japan as the top export market for U.S. pork.”