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Record pace for U.S. pork variety meat exports lifts per-head value

The strong momentum U.S. pork exports have established this year has been bolstered by record-large shipments of edible pork variety meat. Demand for these products depends almost entirely on the international marketplace, and while China remains the leading destination for U.S. pork variety meat, several markets have contributed to this year’s export growth.

Through September, pork variety meat exports totaled 438,190 metric tons, up 15% from the same period last year, while export value climbed 13% to $1.03 billion. This growth helped push pork export value per head slaughtered to a record level at $63.16, up 5% year-over-year, with nearly $11 attributable to variety meat exports.

2022 was a record year for pork variety meat exports to China, and despite the Chinese market currently having a robust supply of domestic pork, demand for U.S. variety meat has held up relatively well, with January-September shipments to China climbing 10% from a year ago in both volume (252,823 mt) and value ($650.6 million). This performance is especially impressive, given that U.S. pork entering China remains subject to retaliatory duties.

Shipments to China could also gain momentum from additional plant approvals. In late October, China’s General Administration of Customs cleared 12 U.S. pork establishments for export to China. These were the first such approvals in more than 10 months. Eight more establishments were approved in late November and are expected to begin shipping soon.

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