In 2004, US pork exports exceeded US$2bn in total value and 995,000 metric tons in volume for the first year ever, an increase of over 35% by volume and 40% by value compared to 2003 exports.

According to National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) president Keith Berry, increased market access, created by trade agreements, is the driving force behind the strong export growth pork producers have experienced for over a decade.

Since the implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreement, US pork exports have increased 337% by volume and 292% by value. Dermot Hayes of Iowa State University has calculated that in 2004 about 12% of the pork produced in the US was exported.

As well as gains generated by the Uruguay Round in markets such as Japan and South Korea, in 2004 pork producers reaped the benefits from a number of other trade deals in markets such as China, Mexico and Russia.

“In addition, this year we expect increased pork exports to Australia as a result of the new market access we achieved in that country,” Berry said.