WASHINGTON (B)--The forecast for Russian pork imports this year was lowered to 400,000 tonnes, down from a previous prediction of 500,000, according to a USDA attache report dated Feb. 9 and released Feb. 15.

Despite the decreased forecast for 2001, the attache said Russian pork imports are still expected to be double the 200,000 tonnes purchased the previous year.

U.S. pork exporters have been increasing their market share in Russia, but competition has tightened recently because of exports from China and Vietnam.

"U.S. pork trimmings and pic-nics are becoming increasingly popular with Russian food processors," the attache said. "However, Poland and Hungary are the major suppliers. Recently, Chinese pork has returned to the Russian market, and Vietnam is increasing its market share. The EU will experience shortages in exportable pork supplies as EU consumers switch to pork and poultry."

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