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DES MOINES, IOWA – Despite numerous challenges for most of 2018, sales of U.S. pork abroad remained relatively steady compared with 2017. For the year, U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports totaled 5.37 billion pounds, unchanged from 2017, and were valued at $6.392 billion, which was down 1 percent from 2017.

“Without a doubt, 2018 was a difficult year for U.S. pork exports,” said Bill Luckey, a pork producer from Columbus, Nebraska, and chair of the Pork Checkoff International Marketing committee. “Market-access challenges were the main reason.”

Pork exports accounted for 25.7 percent of total 2018 U.S. pork and pork variety meat production. Export value per head averaged $51.37, down 3.9 percent from 2017.

Despite market access challenges for many markets, 2018 export growth was strong in a few countries, including tremendous growth in South Korea and Colombia. Pork and pork variety meat exports to Korea were up 40 percent in volume and 41 percent in value, while exports to Colombia were up 39 percent in volume and 32 percent in value.

“With projections for increased pork production this year, the Pork Checkoff is committed to strengthening its partnership with its international customers,” Luckey said. “The National Pork Board increased Checkoff funding by 12.7 percent over 2018 to increase exports around the globe. In fact, since 2014, the Checkoff has increased international marketing funding by more than 30 percent.”

During 2018, more than 100 countries imported U.S. pork.

  • The top five U.S. pork export markets in total pounds were: Mexico (1.71 billion pounds), Japan (869 million pounds), China/Hong Kong (775 million pounds), South Korea (534 million pounds) and Canada (453 million pounds).
  • The top five U.S. pork export markets in total value were:  Japan ($1.62 billion), Mexico ($1.31 billion), China/Hong Kong ($851 million), Canada ($764 million) and South Korea ($670 million).

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