Over 96% of the world’s population lives outside the United States. Around the globe, consumers vote with their hard earned money for pork. Worldwide, 42% of the animal protein consumed is pork. According to the USDA, U.S. pork producers shipped a total of $5.7 billion pork and pork variety meat outside of the United States in 2016, doubling the value since 2006.
Making trade the No. 1 priority is smart business for the U.S. pork industry. The industry is laser-focused on growing its marketing footprint. With the ever-changing political atmosphere, it is the time for all pork producers to tell their story and show the world why U.S. pork is safe, high quality, delicious and nutritious.
Along the storytelling trail, it is equally essential that key government officials also understand why the United States can’t damage the pork trade ties now.
Here are five trade numbers you need to know now.
According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, the U.S. exports the equivalent by weight more than 30 Statues of Liberty each day on the average or 13.7 million pounds.
In 2016, the USDA FAS states 26% of U.S. pork and pork variety meat production was exported. This accounts for $50.20 per hog marketed. In comparison, U.S. exports 14% of beef production and 15% of poultry production.
Although U.S. pork is exported to every continent except Antarctica in 2016, five countries — Japan, Mexico, Canada, China and South Korea — account for 81% of U.S. pork exports (in value). Top six countries by volume in 2016 were South Korea, Central and South America, Canada, Japan, China/Hong Kong and Mexico.
How valuable is the North American Free Trade Agreement for U.S. pork? NAFTA is worth $12.40 per pig marketed according to calculations by Dermot Hayes, Iowa State University ag economist. Altogether NAFTA partners account for 37% of the U.S. pork exported.
Putting pencil to paper, Hayes computes the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement is worth $4.71 per pig marketed.