The U.S. shipped 213,218 metric tons of paws and feet from January through July, 6 percent higher than the 200,524 metric tons exported during the same time in 2011, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service.

Comparatively, U.S. paw and feet exports from January through July are 27 percent higher than 2010 (167,833 metric tons) and 23 percent lower than 2009 (278,002 metric tons). Total U.S. exports of paws and feet have been on the decline since 2008, according to the USDA.

In the second quarter of 2012 alone, exports totaled 83,939 metric tons, 17 percent lower than the first quarter (101,544 metric tons) and 4 percent lower than the second quarter of 2011 (87,283 metric tons). Total exports in the second quarter of 2012 are 8 percent higher than 2010 (77,864 metric tons) and 35 percent lower than 2009 (129,399 metric tons).

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In just July, the U.S. exported a total of 27,734 metric tons of paws and feet, 26 percent higher than June and 21 percent lower than July 2011. In comparison, July 2012 exports are 12 percent higher than July 2010's 24,826 metric tons and 49 percent lower than July 2009's 53,964 metric tons.

The top two leading markets for U.S. paw and feet exports have been China and Hong Kong despite ongoing trade disputes, according to the USDA. Combined China and Hong Kong account for nearly 98 percent for total U.S. paw and feet exports. Together, China and Hong Kong imported 208,322 metric tons from January through July, 6 percent higher than 2011 (196,245 metric tons), 34 percent higher than 2010 (155,016 metric tons) and 23 percent lower than 2009 (272,173 metric tons).