June 24, 2011


Korea's beef imports rise 20% from January to May



Korean beef imports from January to May 2011 rose 20% on year, according to information unveiled by the Korean International Trade Association (KITA). 


Imports of Australian and US beef increased 13% and 46%, respectively, for the five months, while New Zealand imports decreased 8%. While still a very small portion of the imported beef markets, imports of Mexican beef increased 54% on year. 


Australian beef made up 78% and 44%, respectively, of all chilled and frozen beef imports into the Korean market so far in 2011.


A contributing factor to the strong rise in Korean beef imports in 2011 has been Korea's battle with foot-and-mouth disease, which had been reported in cattle farms across the country from late 2010 through to early February 2011. The outbreak resulted in the culling of more than 150,000 cattle and three million pigs, with a subsequent change in consumer behaviour.


Due to local meat shortage (especially pig meat), the Korean government announced earlier in the year that it would allow 130,000 tonnes swt of pig meat to be imported with zero tariffs. Last month, the Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance doubled this volume to 260,000 tonnes swt in an attempt to curb rising prices.

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