WASHINGTON – October was an exceptional month for beef and pork exports, the US Meat Export Federation reported. Beef exports continued a record-setting pace while pork exports registered a strong performance for the month.

October US beef exports climbed 6 percent to 107,471 metric tons, while the value reached $564.5 million, an increase of nearly 14 percent. Japan and Mexico, top markets for US beef exports, increased the volume of US beef purchases by more than 40 percent in October, according to USMEF, while sales to Hong Kong surged 148 percent.

The value of US pork exports reached $539.9 million in value at a volume of 186,637 metric tons, USMEF noted. However, the volume and value of pork exports declined 11 percent and 14 percent respectively from October 2012 all-time single-month highs for both volume and value. Exports to ASEAN, Central and South America posted double-digit increases.

“The ebbs and flows of export markets require us to make continual adjustments,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “For example, Japan remains the United States’ top value market for pork exports, but relentless competition from other international suppliers is making it tougher for us to maintain our market share.”

Seng added that competition from the European Union will intensify in the future as the EU member states consider tripling funding for their export initiatives. Meanwhile, the US Congress is debating spending cuts to the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program.

“There is no question that exports create jobs and support a positive balance of trade,” Seng said. “The European Commission sees that link and is looking to put significantly more resources into their export initiative, so we can expect to face even heavier competition in the top value markets going forward.”