Data released last week by USDA showed U.S. pork exports on pace to set a new record this year, surpassing 2008's all-time high. Through June, pork exports totaled $2.35 billion, up 10 percent over the same period last year and about $30 million higher than the same six-month period in 2008.
This is great news for the U.S. pork industry, which earlier this year came out of 28 months of losses.
The data showed pork exports to Mexico up 31 percent over the January through June 2009 period. Canada imported 23 percent more U.S. pork, while Japan, the No. 1 market for U.S. pork, took 3 percent more. While exports to China and Russia were down 34 and 32 percent, respectively, the United States recently resolved with the countries issues that were limiting U.S. pork exports to those markets.
If the United States really wants to boost pork -- and other -- exports and create thousands of jobs, it will pass the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.