DENVER – A new option was approved last week for certifying US pork for export to Chile, reports the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork from hogs raised under the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA+) program, as certified under a US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service export verification program, is no longer subject to trichinosis testing.

This change will lower costs for pork producers and exporters serving Chile, which is one of the largest markets in the Central-South America region for US pork, said Dan Halstrom, senior vice president of global marketing, USMEF.

US pork exports to Chile, before retreating somewhat last year, increased rapidly from 2010 through 2013. Exports in 2009 totaled 1,890 metric tons (mt) valued at $5.5 million, making Chile the 26th-largest value destination for US pork. However, by 2013 Chile had grown to the ninth-largest market with exports of 24,188 mt valued at $61.7 million. Last year, exports totaled 19,110 mt valued at $49.3 million.

The US is Chile’s largest supplier of imported pork, having captured about 41 percent of the market. Primary competitors are Canada and Brazil.

Halstrom admits supplying chilled pork will remain a challenge even with the new PQA+ certification option because the transit time between the US and Chile is about 23 days. Nevertheless, buyer interest suggests potential for chilled export growth to Chile.