Newly released export results for September showed a continued strong performance for the U.S. beef industry. Through the first three quarters of the year, exports of beef and beef variety meat totaled $4.52 billion – 10 percent ahead of last year’s record pace. In terms of volume, exports are up 1 percent to 861,715 metric tons.

Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for marketing and communications, explains that beef exports to Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan have far outpaced 2012 levels this year, with September being no exception. But he also notes that beef exports to Mexico and South Korea – two markets that struggled in the first half of 2013 – have gained significant momentum in recent weeks.

U.S. pork is performing well in most markets, including China/Hong Kong, the ASEAN region of Southeast Asia and Central/South America. But on a global basis, U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports are down 5 percent in both volume (1.57 million metric tons) and value ($4.42 billion) compared to the first three quarters of 2012. Halstrom says lack of access to Russia (which closed to both U.S. pork and beef in February of this year) has been a significant setback for the pork industry. He adds that while Japan is still by far the No. 1 value market for U.S. pork (through September, $1.41 billion), intense competition has begun to erode the U.S. share of Japan’s imported pork market.