Continued communication and collaboration are key to getting the most value for U.S. pork in international markets, USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom told those attending the 2019 National Pork Industry Forum.
Pork Forum, an annual event that brings pork producers and organizational leaders together to discuss challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. pork industry, was held in Orlando, Florida.
“USMEF appreciates the opportunity to partner with the U.S. pork industry and will continue to cooperate with the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council to grow demand for U.S. pork around the world,” Halstrom said in an address to Pork Forum attendees.
Halstrom’s overview of U.S. pork export trends and growth in several markets noted that, despite tariffs and other headwinds facing the industry, pork exports had a strong year in 2018 and are in a position to grow in 2019.
He pointed to the big success U.S. pork has had in South Korea, with growing demand in Korea’s retail sector and the country’s ever-increasing focus on convenience. U.S. pork raw materials for further processing are a primary driver for much of the demand for U.S. pork, as more and more consumers turn to processed foods such as U.S. pork sausages and other convenience items. The home meal replacement concept has become very popular and is fueling Korea’s demand for pork, Halstrom explained.
Other regions in which USMEF sees great promise for U.S. pork are Central and South America. Halstrom noted that markets such as Colombia, Peru, Panama and Costa Rica have increased imports of U.S. pork and that USMEF will intensify its efforts to grow demand.
Trade barriers remain as challenges in Mexico, U.S. pork’s largest volume market, and China, where the potential for growth is tremendous. He also pointed out the need for a trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan, the largest value destination for U.S. pork and one of the world’s most competitive markets.