Global trade in red meat and poultry will remain strong in 2007 with beef exports growing 6.5%, pork 2.6%, and chicken 4.1%, USDA predicts. Driving the increases is the reopening of markets closed due to outbreaks of such animal diseases such as BSE, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), and avian influenza, reports.

On the beef side, trade experts anticipate Argentina, Australia, India, New Zealand, Brazil, the U.S. and Canada will see export increases.

Meanwhile, China, Brazil and the U.S. are forecast to make the largest gains in beef production. China has grown beef production 5-7% annually since 2002 and will increase more than 5% in 2007 due to herd expansion. Beef production growth in Brazil is forecast to grow 3% in 2007, driven by strong domestic demand and lifting of FMD trade bans.

Specialists see global pork exports increasing to nearly 5.3 million metric tons (mt) after an expected 1% decline in 2006. The U.S. and Brazil will largely drive the export growth. While global pork exports are expected to increase nearly 4% in 2007 to more than 103 million metric tons, 77% of the increase will be from China, which accounts for more than half of global pork production.

Global chicken meat exports are forecast to increase to 6.7 million mt in 2007 after dropping in 2006. The U.S. market share is expected to increase to 37%, while Brazil's share will drop 1% to 38%, and the European Union share will remain at 10%.

Russia, the largest importer of chicken meat, is forecast to decrease imports in 2007 by more than 7% due to increasing domestic production.
-- Joe Roybal