WASHINGTON – International customers' willingness to pay higher prices for beef and pork lifted meat exports to double digits in April, the United States Meat Export Federation reported.

Total US pork exports, including muscle cuts and variety meat, climbed 11 percent over 2013 levels in volume to 192,924 metric tons valued at $596 million, a 26 percent increase. Pork exports gained 11 percent in volume (776,601 mt) and 14 percent in value ($2.25 billion) during the first four months of 2014, according to USMEF.

Exports of US beef totaled 99,297 mt with a value of $537.4 million, increases of 15 and 24 percent respectively. Year-to-date, beef exports advanced 10 percent in volume (376,377 mt) and 17 percent in value ($2.05 billion).

“Even with a plentiful supply of EU pork products in the marketplace and large volumes of Australian beef, we are still seeing demand grow in most of our key markets and remain steady in others,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “It is encouraging to see solid growth in sales to markets where the US industry has made the biggest commitment in resources. A good example would be Korea, where export volumes have struggled since 2012 but, as Korea’s domestic supply levels of beef and pork normalize, we are seeing a robust rebound in demand for US products.”

In April, pork exports accounted for 28 percent of total US pork production and 23 percent of muscle cuts, gains of 25 and 21 percent respectively. Beef exports for the month accounted for 14 percent of total US beef production and 11 percent of muscle cuts, 12 percent and 9 percent increases.