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Paraguay market now open to U.S. pork

Country currently is a modest pork consumer, but has great growth potential.

Under an export certificate recently negotiated between the two countries, the United States now can ship pork to Paraguay, news that is welcomed by the National Pork Producers Council.

“Paraguay won’t be a huge market for U.S. pork, but given the current trade climate, the U.S. pork industry needs all the new markets it can get,” says NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “This is welcome news for America’s pork producers.”

While the South American country is a modest consumer of pork, there is potential for U.S. pork export growth to its nearly 6.9 million people, who have a per capita income greater than, for example, the Philippines and Vietnam, two large pork-consuming nations.

The USDA last month concluded talks with its Paraguay counterparts on the export certificate, which will allow the shipment of U.S. fresh, frozen, processed and thermally processed/commercially sterile pork and pork products.

“The U.S. pork industry is very dependent on exports,” says Heimerl. “Last year, were exported nearly 27% of our total production, and those exports added more than $53 — representing almost 36% of the $149 average value of a hog in 2017 — to the price we received for each animal marketed.

“The United States can’t sit on its hands when it comes to trade and watch its export markets erode. Opening new markets, even small ones like Paraguay, and expanding existing markets is imperative.”

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