Expanding International Markets: Trade mission opens more opportunities for U.S. pork

Expanding international pork demand has always been a high priority for the industry. The National Pork Board participated in a USDA trade mission to the United Kingdom earlier this summer.

The UK imports a surprising amount of pork, that is according to Courtney Knupp, the National Pork Board’s Vice President of International Market Development.

“We currently do business in the United Kingdom, in that all of the loins at their Costco’s, there’s about 30 throughout the island that we are the supplier of their pork. So, there’s an opportunity, people do buy it, but we would like to have a better seat at the table. So, that’s why we attended and it’s always great to continue our partnership with USDA,” Knupp said.

In 2021 alone, the U.S. exported slightly more than 1,000 metric tons of pork to the UK, which was valued at $3.9 million.

Dr. Dermot Hayes, an Iowa State University economist, says even though we do not see the discussion in the U.S., there is strong interest for a trade agreement.

“They’re very interested because they’ve left Europe and they’re looking for new trading partners. They do import about a million tons a year and a lot of other is used for further processing. And we would be by far a low-cost supplier into that market if we had the opportunity,” said Hayes.

A pork producer from Michigan shared his experience with the recent trade mission to the United Kingdom, which allowed him to discuss U.S. production and address misconceptions.

“And when you actually can sit down and tell your story about how production in the United States is actually primarily run by families and definitely run by people just like it is in Europe who really care about their animals and the environment and we just happened to do that in a way that is more competitive than the way they do it, it really opens up their minds,” said Joe Dykhuis.

If producers can prove they can meet the strict standards and regulations in the UK, the potential is there to grow the U.S. market share.

For more information on international trade, click HERE.


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