Australian beef exports to fall

5 February 2008

Competition from the United States in Japan and South Korea will help force beef exports from Australia to drop by about 5.5% this year. According to, total shipments of beef and veal are projected to fall to 890,000 metric tons, compared with last year's 941,000 tons and a record 953,900 tons in 2006, citing Meat & Livestock Australia's latest cattle and sheep industry projections report.

Australia benefited from the closures of the Korean and Japanese markets to US beef following the first US case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in 2003, but those markets are expected to ease restrictions on US imports this year. ‘The big drag on the [Australian] industry is the impact the US is likely to have in Japan and Korea', said Peter Weeks, author of MLA's report and the industry group's chief economist. Japan and South Korea are Australia's largest and third-largest export markets, respectively. MLA says there will have to be a ‘significant readjustment of Australia's beef exports from North Asia' to other markets in Asia, the US and in Australia. Exports are forecast to rise from 2009 to reach a record 995,000 tons by 2011 and 1 million tons by 2012, the group's experts said. Australia is the world's second largest beef exporter behind Brazil.

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