WASHINGTON – Beef exports went up, pork exports went down and lamb exports turned up the value on lower volumes, according to statistics released by the US Department of Agriculture and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

“2013 presented a new set of challenges,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “Last year, the closure of the Russian market to U.S. red meat products and our continued absence from the dynamic beef market in the People’s Republic of China stand out. And there were challenges in other markets, ranging from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia. The industry is focused on these challenges and USMEF is targeting the markets where we have the best chance of succeeding and creating a positive return for American producers and exporters.”

Beef exports set a new annual value record by surpassing the $6 billion mark for the first time, USMEF noted. Growth in sales to Japan, Mexico, Hong Kong and Central and South America pushed beef exports higher by nearly 13 percent in volume and 20 percent in value. Totals for 2013 advanced 3 percent in volume to 1.17 million metric tons (mt) and 12 percent in value ($6.157 billion) – breaking the 2012 value record, USMEF reported.

Pork exports declined 5 percent in volume and 4 percent in value, falling behind the record pace set in 2012. Pork exports finished 2013 at 2.14 million mt valued at $6.05 billion, the third consecutive year pork exports have exceeded $6 billion. December totals increased slightly on strong performances in Mexico, Central and South America and the ASEAN region, according to USMEF.

Finally, lamb exports posted double-digit increases in volume and value for December to close out 2013 7 percent higher in value at $28.1 million but 6 percent lower in volume at 12,332 mt. Top markets for US lamb continue to be Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, USMEF noted.