The volume of U.S. beef exports in April was 86,433 metric tons, down 9 percent year-over-year, and export value was $434.8 million, down 7 percent compared with the value in April 2012, according to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
However, from January to April, beef exports were up 2 percent in value at $1.75 billion, despite a 5 percent decrease in volume to 343,020 metric tons.
April pork exports declined year-over-year in volume, down 5 percent at 174,073 million metric tons, as well as value, dropping 7 percent at $475.1 million. In the first four months of 2013, pork exports fell 10 percent compared with the same period last year in both volume, which reached 702,268 metric tons, and value, which totaled $1.96 billion.
Russia’s suspension of imports of U.S. beef and pork, — the country officially closed its market on Feb. 11 — continued to hamper overall performance, according to USMEF. The trade impasse, which results from Russia’s policy against beta agonist use, has cost the U.S. industry about $97 million in beef export value and $58 million in pork export value so far this year, the group said.
“Along with our lack of access to sell beef in mainland China, this is the biggest barrier we face in terms of market access,” said Philip Seng, USMEF’s president and CEO, in a written statement.
On the other hand, Japan regained its ranking as the No. 1 market for U.S. beef for the first time since 2003, and Hong Kong and Taiwan continued to receive an increasing amount of beef imports from the U.S.