Korea - Buying more US beef than Japan
June 03, 2011
Korea is now the world's biggest importer of U.S. beef. According to data by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday, the U.S. exported 28,875 tons of beef to Korea in March, up 3.2 times from a year ago and 52.9 percent from the previous month.
Previously the top importer was Mexico, followed by Japan and Canada, but Korea outpaced Mexico in February and has since remained at the top, shipping in a quarter of the U.S.' total beef exports of 111,261 tons in March.
The surge is attributable to reduced domestic supply in the wake of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease here, the DOA said. U.S. beef exports to Korea grew slightly in December and January but then soared 51.1 percent in February and 52.9 percent in March as livestock was culled. Japan also imported more U.S. beef amid food safety scares following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Australia remains the biggest exporter of beef to Korea, but the gap is narrowing. According to data from the Korea Customs Service, Korea imported 8,620 tons of U.S. beef in April, only 13 percent less than the 9,928 tons from Australia. In April last year it was about 50 percent.
Statistics released in the U.S. showed 28,875 tons of beef were exported to Korea in March, far exceeding 8,620 tons Seoul logged in April. The difference apparently arises from the time lapse due to transportation and quarantine process, so U.S beef imports will keep ballooning. And still U.S. producers are pushing for further opening of the Korean market.
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