First-Half Beef Exports on $1 Billion/Month Pace; Pork Exports Below Last Year

Pork exports lower overall, but surging to Mexico, Colombia and DR

Pork exports to leading market Mexico remained on a record pace in June, up 3% from a year ago to 72,361 mt, while value climbed 11% to $166.4 million. This pushed first-half exports to Mexico to 469,295 mt, up 18% from a year ago, valued at $881.5 million (up 12%).

After starting the year slowly, Colombia’s demand for U.S. pork surged in the second quarter. June exports totaled 11,120 mt, up 90% from a year ago and the largest of 2022. First-half exports to Colombia were 10% above last year in volume (51,813 mt) and value was on a record pace at $119.5 million (also up 10%). While a large percentage of the U.S. pork exported to Colombia is used for further processing, the U.S. industry has made significant gains in Colombia’s retail and foodservice sectors.

While June pork exports to the Dominican Republic cooled from the very large totals posted in April and May, shipments still more than doubled from year ago in both volume (7,235 mt, up 118%) and value ($19.7 million, up 116%). First-half exports to the DR increased 49% to 43,345 mt, with value climbing 52% to $108.3 million. With shipments also trending higher to the Bahamas and the Leeward-Winward Islands, first-half exports to the Caribbean increased 40% in volume (51,748 mt) and 45% in value ($137.7 million).

Other January-June results for U.S. pork exports include:

  • Pork exports to South Korea totaled 16,469 mt in June, up 10% from a year ago, while export value increased 8% to $57.8 million. While first-half volume to Korea was down 4% to 92,457, export value still climbed 8% to $325.3 million. Korea’s imports of chilled U.S. pork followed a similar trend – down 6% in volume (4,316 mt) but climbing 11% in value to $30.9 million. Similar to beef, the Korean government also recently implemented a duty-free quota for imported pork. Because imports from the U.S., European Union and Chile already enter Korea at zero duty under free trade agreements, the main beneficiaries are expected to be Canadian, Mexican and Brazilian pork. Canada is the United States’ primary competitor in Korea’s chilled pork market.
  • While still below last year’s volumes, pork variety meat exports to China gained momentum for the second consecutive month in June. Exports reached 26,407 mt, the largest since September, valued at $66.2 million. Through June, pork variety meat exports to China were still down 20% from a year ago to 133,834 mt, with value falling 9% to $370.3 million, as China’s COVID-related inspections and restrictions on imported products hurt demand. However, the uptick in May and June suggests that Chinese importers are once again able to profitably utilize imported pork variety meat. For pork and pork variety meat, total first-half exports to the China/Hong Kong region were 222,784 mt, down 53% from a year ago, while value fell 46% to $595.1 million.
  • First-half pork exports to Japan were 9% below last year at 158,239 mt, valued at $667.3 million (down 8%). Some Japanese buyers have shifted to large imports of frozen European pork, benefiting from the EU’s currency advantage and broad availability as China’s demand for EU pork declined. Logistical challenges have also negatively impacted U.S. exports to Japan, with the Port of Oakland handling the majority of shipments. But Japan’s first-half imports of chilled U.S. pork in were down just 1.6% year-over-year, totaling 104,204 mt valued at $480 million.
  • After soaring last year, pork exports to Central America slowed in the first half, trailing last year’s record pace by 12% in volume (59,729 mt) and 9% in value ($160.3 million). However, when compared to the first half of 2019 and 2020, exports were up 33%.
  • Following a down year in 2021 and a slow start this year, pork exports to Australia are showing signs of a rebound, with June exports totaling 4,190 mt valued at $15 million. While still lower year-over-year, this was the second consecutive month in which exports to Australia seemed to regain momentum. Prior to recent increases in shipping costs and other transportation obstacles, as well as an influx of inexpensive European pork, Australia was a leading destination for boneless U.S. hams and loins used for further processing.
  • June pork export value equated to $61.87 per head slaughtered, down 5% from a year ago. The first-half average was $58.14 per head, down 12%. Exports accounted for 27% of total June pork production and 23.6% for muscle cuts, down from 29.4% and 25.5%, respectively, a year ago. For January through June, exports accounted for 26.4% of total pork production and 23.5% for muscle cuts, each down about four percentage points from the high ratios posted in the first half of 2021.


Outstanding first half for U.S. lamb exports

June exports of U.S. lamb increased 56% from a year ago to 1,688 mt, while export value soared 84% to just under $3 million. First-half exports increased 48% from a year ago to 10,056 mt, while value jumped 70% to $15.4 million. Muscle cut exports increased 83% in volume (1,121 mt) and 86% in value ($6.8 million).

Lamb exports to the Caribbean continued to shine in June, tripling from a year ago to 96 mt and increasing 162% in value to $769,000. First-half exports to the Caribbean increased 95% in volume (545 mt) and 109% in value ($4.1 million). Demand for both muscle cuts and variety meat increased in leading market Mexico, with total first-half exports reaching 9,154 mt (up 45% from a year ago) valued at $9.6 million (up 61%).

Complete January-June export results for U.S. pork, beef and lamb are available from USMEF’s statistics web page.

For questions, please contact Joe Schuele or call 303-547-0030.



  • Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
  • One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.
  • U.S. pork and beef currently face retaliatory duties in China. In February 2020, China announced a duty exclusion process that allows importers to apply for relief from duties imposed in response to U.S. Section 301 duties. When an application is successful, the rate for U.S. beef can decline to the MFN rate of 12% and the rate for U.S. pork can decline to 37% (the MFN rate plus the 25% Section 232 retaliatory duty, which remains in place).