February 3, 2004
News Release 04-012
U.S. FURSKIN PRODUCTION CONTINUES ITS LONG-TERM DECLINE, SAYS ITC
The United States was the world's largest volume producer of furskins derived from animals
harvested in the wild and the fourth largest producer of farm-raised mink during 1998-2002,
reports the U.S. International Trade Commission in its publication Industry and Trade Summary:
Mink is by far the most important fur bearer raised on farms, although other species such as fox
and chinchilla are also raised commercially for their fur, according to the report. Major species
harvested in the wild include raccoon, beaver, muskrat, red fox, and mink.
The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, recently released the report as
part of an ongoing series of reports on thousands of products imported into and exported from the
United States. Following are other highlights from the report:
The foregoing information is from the ITC report Industry and Trade Summary: Furskins
(USITC Publication 3666, January 2004).
- Denmark is by far the leading farm-raised mink producing country, accounting for nearly
40 percent of world production in 2002. Other major producers include the Netherlands,
Russia, Finland, China, Sweden, and Canada. World production of mink furskins is
estimated at 30.9 million pelts in 2002, up from 27.7 million pelts in 1999.
- The ultimate consumers of furs, both wild and farm-raised, are wearers of fur garments
and accessories. Weather, economic conditions, and fashion trends are all important
factors influencing demand for fur. Antifur legislation has resulted in the banning of fur
farms in some countries.
- During 1998-2002, the period covered by the report, U.S. farmed mink pelt production
continued its long-term downward trend. Farmed mink pelt production is estimated to
account for more than 50 percent of total U.S. furskin production. In 2002, farm mink
pelt production totaled 2.6 million pelts, valued at $79.6 million, down 12 percent (by
quantity) from 1998. Data for wild furskin production and other farmed production (e.g.
fox and chinchilla) are not available but estimated at $70 million for 2002.
- The U.S. furskin industry experienced significant consolidation during the 1998-2002
period, resulting in increased industry concentration. The number of fur farms declined
from 438 in 1998 to 318 in 2002.
- U.S. furskin imports consisted mostly of mink, fox, and sable. During the period of
review, Canada was the largest source of U.S. imports of furskins, accounting for about
39 percent of total U.S. furskins imports annually. The European Union (EU) is also a
major source of U.S. furskin imports. The Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark are the
leading EU exporters of mink furskins to the United States, and Finland is the largest
source of U.S. imports of fox pelts. Russia is the largest supplier of sable furskins.
- The United States posted an overall positive trade balance for furskins during 1998-2002.
Significant trade surpluses were registered with Asian markets offsetting smaller deficits
to the EU.
- The United States is a major exporter of both wild and farmed furskins. Major export
markets for U.S. furskins include Canada, the EU, and Asia. U.S. exports to Asia as a
share of total exports grew from 22 percent in 1998 to 47 percent in 2002. Hong Kong
and Korea are the largest Asian markets together accounting for 90 percent of U.S.
furskin exports to Asia in 2002.
- During 1998-2002, Hong Kong was the leading world market for furskins; however, most
of Hong Kong's fur manufacturing takes place in mainland China. An estimated
70 percent of the world's mink production is currently manufactured into wearing apparel
ITC Industry and Trade Summary reports include information on product uses, U.S. and foreign
producers, and customs treatment of the products being studied; they analyze the basic factors
affecting trends in consumption, production, and trade of the commodities, as well as factors
bearing on the competitiveness of U.S. industry in domestic and foreign markets.
This report will be available in the Publications section of the ITC Internet site at www.usitc.gov.
A printed copy may be ordered without charge by calling 202-205-1809, or by writing the Office
of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC
20436. Requests may be faxed to 202-205-2104.
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