December 11, 2003



Russia's Placing of Quotas Might Affect US Chicken Exports in 2004


Industry experts forecast US chicken exports having potential growth in the coming year. In the 1990s, chicken exports too fueled the industry's economic health.


However this potential growth might be impeded by several factors. One of which is Russia's placing of quotas on poultry imports.


Russia is the top customer for U.S. chicken exports.


However, the Stone Mountain-based USA Poultry & Egg Export Council labels this as a positive measure as the quotas bring "a degree of stability and predictability to what had been an unpredictable market," says Jim Sumner, the council's president.


Another factor affecting exports to Russia is that country's domestic production of chicken. Producers there are expected to increase production by 10% next year. By some estimates, this represents a production increase of more than 300% from 1997.


To counterbalance the dependence on Russia, the council and the federal government have been working to promote poultry and to open other markets for international trade.


The council has been promoting American poultry products in markets such as West Africa. The group says exports already have begun to increase to countries in the areas, including Angola, Benin and Ghana.


The federal government's role in developing free trade agreements with other areas of the world, like Central America, may help open up other markets for U.S. poultry.


Chicken exports next year are expected to reach 5.1 billion pounds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 6.3% increase over the forecast of 4.8 billion pounds this year.


Next year, exports may account for 15.2% of all chicken produced. This year, exports are expected to reach 14.7% of total production.


Keep in mind, most U.S. chicken exports are comprised of leg meat, the preferred cut of chicken outside the United States. Here, we prefer breast meat.


The United States has roughly a 38% share of world chicken exports. The next major chicken exporting country, Brazil, has about a 30% market share.