September 17, 2008


US pork imports to Canada rises as Canadian shipments shrivel 



The amount of US pork being imported into Canada has been steadily rising while shipments of Canadian pork into the US have been slowly declining, according to Martin Rice, executive director of Canadian Pork Council.


The decline in Canadian pork products to the US was partly linked to the decline in pork processing in Canada, as well as to Canadian producers who are finding it more profitable to ship their feeder pigs to the US to farrow and finish them, Rice said. 


He said there are companies in Canada, such as Costco, who only purchases US pork products. 


Meanwhile, the Canadian pork processing business model for the future seems to be not to get involved in fresh cuts. "That is already evident by the number of businesses which have already left the pork product business," he said. 


During calendar year 2007, Canadian imports of US pork was close to 200,000 tonnes. Canadian pork product export to the US during 2007, meanwhile, was 353,000 tonnes, Rice said. 


With less pigs to process in Canada, Rice projected that Canadian exports of pork to the US would decline to below 300,000 tonnes, while imports of US pork remain constant at around 200,000 tonnes if not a bit higher. 


Canadian pork product export to the US during calendar year 2005 was around 400,000 tonnes, Rice said. Imports of US pork, meanwhile, were only 122,000 tonnes. 


Rice noted the US used to account for 80 percent of Canada's pork exports, but that number has declined to around 35 to 39 percent.  


Hog slaughter capacity in Canada as of November totaled around 455,000 head a week, and capacity in November 2006 was 500,000 head a week, Rice also informed.

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