• Kyodo

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Mexico has raised its annual target of exports to Japan in the wake of a ban on pork from Europe due to foot-and-mouth disease, analysts said.

Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior said Mexico’s pork exports jumped 4.5 fold between 1994 and 2000, adding that 95 percent of 2000 pork exports went to Japan.

Mexico is the fourth-biggest pork exporter to Japan.

After Tokyo imposed a ban on imports of pork, mutton and related processed products from the European Union in February, Mexico raised its target of annual pork export growth by 35 percent to 40 percent from a previous projection of 30 percent, analysts said.

At present, Japan relies on imports for about 40 percent of its annual pork consumption and imported about 650,000 tons, excluding processed products, last year.

Excluding processed products, Denmark was the biggest supplier of pork to Japan in 2000, shipping 212,200 tons, about 32 percent of total imports. The United States, Canada and Mexico follow with market shares of 29 percent, 17 percent and 6 percent.

In view of the lower labor costs in Mexico — about one-third to one-fifth those in the U.S. — the country is hoping to get a bigger piece of the pie, the analysts said.

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