In light of European Union egg production cutbacks, can the United States increase egg and egg product exports over the next few years? “I think that only a moderate increase of exports will be possible,” according to Hans-Wilhelm Windhorst, the International Egg Commission’s statistical analyst. This could, however, change if as a result of the World Trade Organization negotiations, the EU market would be open for egg products. The EU would then be an attractive market for egg powder. “Most of the EU egg products’ companies are afraid that this may happen, as production costs in the United States are much lower than in Europe,” he says. The cost of production gap will open even wider as a consequence of the foreseeable abandoning of conventional cages by 2012, in Germany even in 2009, Windhorst adds.

The United States was not among the top-10 egg exporting nations in 1970, but by 2004, was No. 5 with a 6.9 percent market share. On production, the United States was the largest egg producing nation in 1970 with a 20.7 percent market share, but by 2005 had slipped to No. 2 with a 9 percent market share, with China emerging as the world’s largest egg producing nation.

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The volume of shell eggs exported from the United States during the first four months of 2007 has bested year-earlier levels by 101 percent, while egg product exports over the period are up 18 percent, according to the U.S. Poultry & Egg Export Council.