2010 a stellar year for US red meat exports

by Bryan Salvage
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DENVER – Final 2010 results for US beef and pork exports are outstanding, relays the US Meat Export Federation. Beef exports set a new single-year value of $4.08 billion, breaking the pre-bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) record of $3.86 billion in 2003 and topping the 2009 total by nearly $1 billion.

US pork exports recorded the second-highest volume and value results ever – 4.28 billion lbs. valued at $4.78 billion – exceeded only by the record-large totals of 2008.

Beef exports set new value records in Taiwan, the Middle East, Russia, Europe, Hong Kong, the Caribbean and Central/South America, said Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president. One of the keys to the new global value record, however, was the strong growth achieved in Japan and South Korea – two high-value markets in which US beef is still striving to get back to pre-BSE levels.

Japan was the pacesetter for US pork exports, setting a new value record of $1.65 billion, Halstrom adds. Mexico also set a new record of $986 million – just missing becoming the only $1 billion market for US pork other than Japan. Other outstanding markets in 2010 included Canada, Southeast Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Central/South America and the Caribbean.

“We have a new value record for US beef,” Halstrom said. “Almost $1 billion in additional value vs. the prior year. We’re seeing excellent growth in several countries. In Japan we continue to see growth there, both on a tonnage basis, up 36% year-on-year, and the same on the value basis. Korea has had phenomenal growth, almost doubling the volume from 2009 and 140% of the previous year in the Korean value. So we’ve had some really good success stories.”

Halstrom adds Japan was the pace-setter for US pork exports, setting a new value record of $1.65 billion. And Mexico just missed becoming the second $1 billion for US pork. “On the pork side, Japan is the main value market, the main margin market for of our members. The exciting thing is we are seeing good growth but we feel like there is additional room for growth in the future in Japan.

“The growth in Mexico, especially in the first two-thirds of the year in 2010, was phenomenal.” Halstrom said. “We pulled back just a little bit in the last part of the year, but the prospects going forward are still very promising. Oceana countries, Australia and New Zealand, were up just under 10%. Central and South America as a whole was up 32% volume basis. And another area people don’t talk much about is the Caribbean – that was up just under 10%. Canada is the fourth-largest market and we were up just under 10% there as well.”
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