With U.S. beef exports forecast at 2.59 billion pounds this year, the United States will not only export quantities of beef that surpass 2003 levels (pre-BSE), but should have a wider net export margin. U.S. beef exports in 2003 were 2.52 billion pounds. Although the United States has not completely recovered the export share held in the Japanese and South Korean markets pre-BSE, other Asian export markets for U.S. beef, including Taiwan, Vietnam, and Hong Kong, have emerged to conjointly hold an increased share of the U.S. beef export market. Beginning in 2010, other countries such as Egypt and Russia have also been more prominent markets for U.S. beef. Last year the United States had regained 38 and 47 percent of the beef quantities shipped to Japan and South Korea in 2003, and export growth is still expected to continue in the Japanese and South Korean markets into 2012. In value terms, U.S. beef exports had already surpassed 2003 levels in 2010.
As a percent of production, U.S. exports are expected to surpass levels set in previous years. In 2011, U.S. domestic production is forecast at nearly 26.3 billion pounds. Even at higher year-over-year production levels in 2011, U.S. beef exports are expected to be about 9.9 percent of production this year. U.S. beef exports are forecast at 2.52 billion pounds in 2012. The export percentage of production is expected to grow next year to 10.1 percent as domestic production also decreases to 25 billion pounds, or the lowest level since 2005. The last year exports as a percent of production were near the levels forecast for 2011 and 2012 was 2003, when 9.6 percent of U.S-produced beef was exported.