After a record performance in 2017, U.S. pork exports to Central America, South America and the Dominican Republic have continued to gain momentum this year. In the audio report below, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Trade Analyst Jessica Spreitzer notes that even in markets where domestic pork production is on the rise, consumption is increasing at an even faster pace, leading to expanded opportunities for U.S. pork.
Spreitzer said demographic trends are helping drive pork demand in these markets, but she also emphasized the importance of key trade agreements such as the Dominican Republic-Central America-Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and bilateral agreements with Chile, Colombia, Panama and Peru. These agreements have greatly improved market access for U.S. pork in Latin America and helped fuel strong growth in U.S. market share.
Through April, U.S. pork exports to South America are up 23 percent from a year ago in volume to 39,520 metric tons (mt) and 24 percent in value to $96.7 million. Led by mainstay markets Honduras and Guatemala and sharply higher shipments to Panama, exports to Central America climbed 23 percent in volume (26,459 mt) and 27 percent in value ($63.3 million). In the Dominican Republic, exports totaled 13,612 mt (up 20 percent) valued at $30.8 million (up 22 percent).