Pork Exports Continue to Gain Momentum; Beef Export Value Sets Annual Record

Slides of January-November export highlights PDFNovember exports of U.S. pork were the largest of 2022 in both volume and value, according to data released by USDA and compiled by USMEF. November beef exports were below the large year-ago totals, but 2022 export value already set a full-year record of nearly $11 billion.

Pork exports reached 245,663 metric tons (mt) in November, up 3% from a year ago, while export value climbed 10% to $725.1 million. In both volume and value, exports were the highest since May 2021. For January through November, pork exports were 10% below the previous year at 2.43 million mt, valued at just under $7 billion (down 7%).

Pork exports to Mexico set another value record in November, topping $200 million for the second consecutive month, and volume was record-large at 87,809 mt. Overall results were also bolstered by excellent growth in variety meat exports, which were up more than 25% year-over-year at just over 50,000 mt, valued at $116.9 million – up 21% and the fourth highest on record, driven by growth to China and Mexico.

“I cannot say enough about the tremendous performance of the Mexican market and its importance to the U.S. pork industry,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “U.S. pork faces heightened competition in Mexico, especially with the recent suspension of import duties. But U.S. industry efforts to educate the trade and consumers about the outstanding quality, consistency and value of U.S. pork continue to pay dividends and elevate overall demand. The rebound in pork variety meat exports is also excellent news for the U.S. industry, reflecting broad-based demand growth and an improved labor situation.”

November beef exports totaled 115,777 mt, down 6% from the previous year’s large volume, while export value declined nearly 20% to $846.6 million. However, through the first 11 months of 2022, beef export value still increased 14% year-over-year to $10.9 billion, already topping the full-year record ($10.58 billion) set in 2021. January-November export volume was 1.36 million mt, up 3% from the record pace of 2021.

“Similar to the previous month, November results for U.S. beef exports reflected severe headwinds in our large Asian markets,” Halstrom said. “Key currencies in the region were still slumping, which impacted the buying power of importers and consumers. COVID cases and lockdowns in China were also intensifying, prompting widespread protests and the eventual lifting of many restrictions. But the U.S. dollar mainly peaked in late October and early November and global demand has remained relatively strong. Even with a high level of economic uncertainty, 2022 has been a fantastic year for U.S. beef exports and the outlook for the coming year remains positive.”

Record-shattering performance for pork exports to Mexico, Dominican Republic

November pork exports to leading market Mexico increased slightly from a year ago in volume to a record 87,809 mt, while export value soared 38% to a record $210.1 million. For January through November, exports to Mexico totaled 869,526 mt, up 9% from a year ago and just short of the full-year record achieved in 2021. Export value reached $1.84 billion, up 20% year-over-year and already setting an annual record. U.S. pork’s remarkable performance in Mexico comes despite increased competition, with import duties from all eligible pork suppliers suspended since May. Mexico also recently opened for the first time to Brazilian pork, provided that it originates from approved plants in the state of Santa Catarina and goes directly into further processing.

Pork exports to the Dominican Republic had already set annual records through October, and demand further intensified in November. Shipments reached a record 10,229 mt in November, up 70% from a year ago and up notably from the previous high of 8,966 mt in April. November export value nearly doubled year-over-year to a record $30.1 million (up 97%). January-November exports to the DR totaled 76,085 mt, up 42% from a year ago, while value increased 48% to $204.8 million. Similar to Mexico, the DR temporarily suspended import duties on red meat and poultry in June, heightening competition in the market. But the decree suspending these duties recently expired, meaning the U.S. is once again the only major pork supplier with duty-free access. Imports from other major suppliers are subject to the DR’s most-favored-nation rate of 25%. Canadian pork exports to the DR fell back to zero in November after gaining some momentum when duties were suspended.

Following a slow start in 2022, pork exports to China/Hong Kong regained considerable momentum in the second half of the year. This trend continued in November, with exports climbing 39% from a year ago to 54,410 mt, valued at $140.3 million (up 40%). While driven in large part by strengthening demand for variety meat, pork muscle cut exports to the region also increased 37% to 20,699 mt, valued at $59.8 million (up 64%). For January through November, pork and pork variety meat exports to China/Hong Kong were 31% below the previous year’s pace at 486,213 mt, valued at $1.25 billion (down 24%).

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

  • Pork variety meat exports, which averaged nearly $10 per head slaughtered in 2021, posted another strong performance in November at 50,002 mt, up 26% from a year ago, while export value increased 21% to $116.9 million. Growth was driven primarily by China/Hong Kong (33,711 mt, up 41% from a year ago), but shipments also increased to Mexico, the ASEAN region and Colombia. For January through November, global exports of U.S. pork variety meat totaled 476,234 mt, down 2% from a year ago, but export value was slightly ahead of the record pace of 2021 at $1.15 billion. Exports to China were just below the previous year’s record pace at 302,442 mt, and could reach an annual record.
  • November exports to South Korea increased 6% year-over-year to 14,633 mt, while value increased slightly to $49.2 million. This pushed January-November totals to 160,139 mt, up 5% from a year ago, while value increased 11% to $560.1 million. Korea also broadened access for pork suppliers last year by opening a 70,000 mt, duty-free quota for imported pork, and recently announced a 10,000 mt duty-free quota for the first half of 2023. Imports from the U.S., the European Union and Chile already enter Korea at zero duty, but the duty-free quotas helped drive growth from Canada, Mexico and Brazil.
  • November pork exports to the Philippines reached 3,205 mt, up 62% from the low volume posted a year ago, while value climbed 128% to $10.7 million. January-November exports were still well below 2021, but November was the fourth consecutive month in which exports to the Philippines trended higher year-over-year. Exporters serving the Philippines also received positive news this week, as President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. extended an order reducing tariff rates on imported pork cuts through the end of 2023. Since mid-2021, imports have been subject to duties of 15% in-quota and 25% out-of-quota. Without the extension, rates would have returned to 30% and 40%, respectively.
  • While Japan remains the second largest value market (behind Mexico) for U.S. pork exports, shipments trended lower in 2022 as U.S. ground seasoned pork and frozen pork faced cheaper offerings from European suppliers and chilled pork was challenged by persistent shipping issues. Through November, exports to Japan were down 9% year-over-year to 331,657 mt, with value declining 11% to $1.37 billion.
  • November pork export value equated to $66.43 per head slaughtered, up 12% from a year ago and the second highest of 2022. The January-November average was $60.77 per head, down 4%. Exports accounted for 29% of total November pork production, up from 27.4% a year ago, while the ratio for muscle cuts was 24.9% (up from 24.6%). The January-November ratios were 27.2% and 23.6%, down from 29.4% and 25.9%, respectively, in the first 11 months of 2021.


Despite November slowdown, beef export value sets records in key markets

In addition to setting a global value record with one month to spare, U.S. beef exports also set annual value records in several individual markets. This included value leader South Korea, where January-November exports reached $2.51 billion – already a full-year record not only for Korea, but for any single destination. November export volume to Korea increased slightly year-over-year to 23,612 mt, despite economic obstacles and a trucker strike that slowed cargo movement near the end of the month. November export value was $185.6 million, down 24% from the large total posted a year ago. January-November export volume to Korea was up 4% to 267,664 mt and the market is well-positioned to break the 2021 volume record when December results are available.

November beef exports to China/Hong Kong also held fairly steady year-over-year, declining only slightly to 20,233 mt, while export value fell 10% to $184.3 million. These results were impressive, given the economic turmoil resulting from China’s COVID-related restrictions and widespread protests that escalated late in the month. January-November exports to the region set new annual records, increasing 20% in volume (263,431 mt) and 27% in value ($2.41 billion). China’s recent lifting of most COVID restrictions has fueled optimism among importers, especially those serving the foodservice and hospitality sectors, but the benefits of these policy changes are likely to be delayed until China works through its current wave of COVID cases.

Led by growth in the Philippines and Vietnam, November was another strong month for beef exports to the ASEAN. Growth is widespread in the region, as exports to the Philippines, Singapore and Cambodia already set annual records and shipments to Thailand are on a record pace. Despite facing significant tariff disadvantages in the ASEAN and the added costs of the strong U.S. dollar, January-November exports increased 20% from a year ago to 60,168 mt, while value climbed 60% to $427.5 million.

Other January-November results for U.S. beef exports include:

  • Despite trending lower in the second half of 2022, beef exports to Taiwan already surpassed the previous annual value record through November at $698.4 million, up 16% from a year ago. Export volume is also on a record pace at 60,472 mt, up 5% from a year ago and well-positioned to top the 2020 record of 63,752 mt.
  • Exports to Japan, the leading volume market for U.S. beef, took a step back in November, falling 13% in volume (23,840 mt) and 36% in value ($155.8 million) from the large year-ago totals. January-November shipments to Japan totaled 284,158 mt, down 4% from a year ago, while value remained slightly above the record pace of 2021 at $2.17 billion.
  • While beef exports to the Middle East also declined in November, shipments to the region still achieved significant growth in 2022. Through the first 11 months of the year, exports reached 60,772 mt, up 5% from a year ago, while export value jumped 42% to $278.7 million. In Egypt, the leading destination for U.S. beef livers, exports slipped 3% to 43,396 mt, but value still climbed 32% to $85.6 million. For beef muscle cuts, export growth was driven by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Kuwait.
  • November beef exports to Canada climbed 11% from a year ago to 9,170 mt, while export value increased 5% to $65.3 million. Through November, exports to Canada were 4% above the previous year’s pace at 96,671 mt, while value increased 13% to $771.7 million. Export value to Canada will reach its highest level since 2015, when shipments totaled just over $900 million.
  • January-November exports of beef variety meat were steady with the previous year at 274,336 mt. But these items commanded higher prices, as export value increased 18% to $1.15 billion – already topping the full-year record of $1.09 billion reached in 2021, led by value growth in Japan, Mexico, China, Egypt, Korea and the ASEAN.
  • November beef export value equated to $382.46 per head of fed slaughter, down 20% from a year ago, but the January-November average was still up 13% to $452.42. Exports accounted for 13.9% of total November beef production and 11.9% for muscle cuts only, down from 15.2% and 12.9%, respectively, in November 2021. The January-November ratios were 15.2% and 13%, each up 2/10 of a percentage point from a year ago.


Mexico and Canada drive strong performance for lamb muscle cut exports

November exports of U.S. lamb muscle cuts more than doubled the year-ago volume, reaching 247 mt (up 129%), while export value increased 72% to $1.38 million. For January through November, exports increased 72% to 2,125 mt, valued at $12.5 million (up 61%). While 2022 growth was primarily driven by strong demand in the Caribbean, November exports were bolstered by larger shipments to Mexico and Canada.

Complete January-November 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.
  • As noted the past several months, USMEF has raised concerns in recent years with USDA about export data collected by the Department of Commerce for lamb variety meat to Mexico. Reported volumes have declined dramatically since July, suggesting that the data reported in prior months and years were disproportionately high. USMEF is therefore focusing year-over-year comparisons on lamb muscle cuts only.
  • 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).