Although release of the August statistics for U.S. beef and pork exports was delayed by about three weeks due to the U.S. government shutdown, the results were encouraging. Beef exports increased 5 percent in volume and 16 percent in value compared to August 2012, reaching 105,544 metric tons valued at $563.3 million. August pork exports were down slightly from a year ago in volume (174,281 metric tons), but were 1 percent higher in value ($501.1 million).

Through the first eight months of this year, beef exports are up 1 percent in volume (767,017 metric tons) and 10 percent in value ($4.01 billion) from a year ago. Pork exports are about 5 percent behind last year’s pace in both volume and value, totaling 1.4 million metric tons valued at $3.94 billion. A complete summary of the August and year-to-date export results is available online.

In the attached audio report, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng discusses these results in more detail. He notes that the top three markets for U.S. beef – Japan, Mexico and Canada – have all performed well in recent months and that exports to South Korea have also shown improvement after a slow first half of the year. Closure of the Russian market has affected exports of both beef and pork, but has been especially impactful on the pork side. Seng also notes that Japan, the leading value destination for U.S. pork, has been a more challenging market in 2013.   

With House and Senate conferees set to resume work on the farm bill Wednesday afternoon, Seng adds his thoughts on the important implications a new farm bill holds for trade-related issues and for ensuring continued success in international marketing of U.S. meat products. He says having the resources necessary to engage trading partners in effective market access negotiations is especially important as work continues on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreements.