December statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) confirm that 2010 was the best year ever for U.S. beef export value. A final total of $4.08 billion breaks the pre-BSE high from 2003 of $3.86 billion by more than 5% and exceeds the 2009 total by nearly $1 billion. Total volume was 1.067 million metric tons, an increase of 19% over 2009.

Pork export value posted the second-best year on record at $4.78 billion, falling just 2% short of the 2008 high and besting 2009 by more than 10%. Total volume was 1.918 million metric tons - an increase of 3% over the previous year.

The global economic downturn of 2009 was particularly hard on beef exports - not only for the U.S., but for all exporting countries. But despite an overall drop in global demand, U.S. beef maintained or increased its market share in most key markets and was well-positioned for a rebound in 2010.


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