U.S. pork exports posted the best month ever in July, reaching 233,242 metric tons (mt), up 32% from a year ago and topping the previous record from April 2018.
Export values increased 34% to $623.3 million, breaking the previous high reached in November 2017.
One of the biggest factors in this performance was a strong rebound in exports to Mexico, which have recovered nicely since regaining duty-free status. A 20% retaliatory duty, which was imposed on most U.S. pork products for nearly a full year in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, was removed in late May. In July, exports to Mexico topped 67,000 mt, up 19% from a year ago, while value surged 38% to nearly $127 million.
Gerardo Rodriguez, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) marketing director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, explains that USMEF ramped up its customer outreach in Mexico during the time the retaliatory duty was in place, working to defend U.S. market share and identify opportunities for new products. For example, he notes that USMEF worked closely with one of Mexico's largest pork processors, Capistrano, to develop an economically priced ham that has performed very well since its introduction into the market. He also discusses development of new processed pork items sold in Mexico's rapidly growing convenience store sector. Listen to his comments here: