June 20, 2011


South Korean imports of US beef, pork rise after FMD



South Korean imports of US pork and beef rose at a far faster pace than those of other overseas meat products this year following the outbreak of FMD, government data showed.


Imports of US pork spiked about 2.5-fold from a year ago to 82,569 tonnes in the January-May period, with overall pork imports rising 121% to 179,985 tonnes, according to the data by a government quarantine agency.


US pork accounted for a record 45.9% of South Korea's imported pork market during the first five months of the year, compared with 29.7% one year earlier.


Korean consumers also purchased more European pork this year, the data showed.


Imports of German pork rose about 20-fold from a year earlier, with those of Danish and Polish products skyrocketing 8-fold and 5-fold each.


While South Koreans increased their spending on imported beef products as well, they showed keen appetites for US beef in particular, the data showed.


The imported beef market in South Korea expanded 43.5% from one year ago to 128,863 tonnes during the five-month period.


Beef that originated from the US in the period stood at 48,831 tonnes, claiming 37.9% of the country's imported beef market, compared with 31.3% a year ago.


While US beef gained ground, Australia, the top beef exporter to South Korea, saw its presence dip in South Korea.


Australian beef, which controlled about half of South Korea's imported beef market one year ago, accounted for 47.2% in the first five months this year, according to the data.


The steep rise of US meat imports, which outstripped the overall growth of South Korea's imported meat market, shows that US farmers and ranchers are the biggest beneficiaries of shortages of locally produced meat, experts said.

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