There are significant opportunities for expanded U.S. pork exports to Russia, according to a new report from the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Growth opportunities exist due to increasing disposable income and expansion of the modern retail and foodservice sectors.

Challenges to U.S. growth include significant competition from Brazil and the European Union, Russia’s growing domestic pork industry and Russian pork quotas that will be eliminated in 2009. Brazil accounted for 51% of Russian pork imports in 2005.

Competition has grown for the Russian pork market. In 1960, 85 countries exported pork to Russia, compared to 130 in 2005.

Domestic pork production in Russia is expected to grow by 21% over the next 10 years, while imports aren’t expected to grow, the USMEF report indicated.

Russia was the sixth-largest market for U.S. pork exports in 2006, comprising about 2.4% of total sales, valued at about $72.3 million.

The Illinois Soybean Association funded the USMEF report.