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U.S. to remain small importer of most red meats, dairy products

Pork imports to be slightly smaller this year.

Consistent with past years, 2017 import data show that the U.S. is a relatively small importer of meat and dairy products, and import forecasts for 2018 show an extension of this tendency, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

USDA NASS

In 2017, U.S. beef imports were 11.3% of total domestic disappearance. In 2018, USDA forecasts for U.S. beef imports leave the ratio almost unchanged, at 10.9%.

“The United States imports mostly lean beef from Australia, mainly for final use as hamburger and in processed and prepared food products,” USDA noted.

On the pork side, imports accounted for just over 5% of disappearance last year. Based on forecasts, USDA said this ratio is expected to be somewhat smaller this year — 4.6% — due largely to increased domestic production. USDA said most imported pork comes from Canada and the European Union.

Compared with beef, pork, and dairy products, USDA explained that lamb imports — most of which originate from Oceania — typically account for more than half of domestic disappearance. In 2017, imports made up about 64% of disappearance. This year, the ratio is expected to be roughly the same, USDA said.

For imported dairy products — most of which come from the EU and New Zealand — imports comprised about 3% of U.S. disappearance last year and are expected to be similar in 2018.

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