Skip to main content

U.S. red meat exports in 2021 were valued at $18.7 billion, the highest in history. Multiple trade agreements aided in reaching those unprecedented levels. U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Economist Erin Borror weighed in on the recent report during the Weekly USMEF Audio Report.


The reduction of tariff rates from 40% to 10.7% in the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) boosted U.S. beef exports in 2021. Korea’s consumption per capita increased 40% compared to 2012, Borror said.


The largest tonnage of growth for U.S. beef demand spurred from the U.S. and China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement. This increased competition resulted in an elevated value of the product.

The U.S-Japan Trade Agreement, though tariffs remain relatively high, also helped level the market playing field for U.S. beef.

In addition, beef exports saw tremendous growth into duty-free free trade agreement (FTA) partners such as Central America, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru and Chile.



“Duty-free access into these Western Hemisphere markets was really critical in moving such a huge increase in volume at higher prices,” Borror said.

U.S. pork saw another record year of exports to Mexico, capitalizing on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s duty-free access.


Central America, specifically Colombia, rebounded in pork export demand, resulting in a 41% increase, despite pork cuts’ increased prices.

The U.S. rose as the top supplier for chilled pork in Korea and has further growth potential as tariffs have been eliminated, she added.

As seen in beef, the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement boosted the position of U.S. pork in the highly competitive market. This agreement has also been essential in lowering tariffs of pork, formerly steady at 20% and set to decline to zero by 2025.


Farm Journal’s Pork | PAIGE CARLSON | February 15, 

Image Source –