U.S. imports and exports of red meats-beef, pork, lamb, and mutton-have expanded rapidly over the last several decades, linking livestock sectors of the United States to those of several major trading partners, according to the just released USDA-ERS report.
Factors driving this trade growth include not only rising incomes, but also the preference of U.S. and foreign consumers for a greater variety of red meat cuts, facilitated by the expansion of free trade agreements. Changes in currency values, including the recent depreciation of the U.S. dollar against the currencies of key trading partners, have also been important influences in expanding trade in U.S. red meat products.
Domestic production continues to provide the main share of beef and pork consumed in the United States, while the share of U.S. lamb consumption from imports has increased significantly. While the red meat (and poultry) markets have been punctuated by animal disease issues over the last few years, the integration of trade is expected to continue.
Click here to access the full report (pdf).