July 6, 2004



Australian Beef Exports To Japan Surge In June To Record Volume


Australian beef exports to Japan surged to a record monthly level in June, to take first calendar half shipments 38% above year-earlier levels, marketing concern Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd. said Tuesday.


Australia now aims to consolidate its role as Japan's leading supplier of beef, said David Crombie, MLA's chairman.


Beef exports to Japan in June of 39,743 metric tons were up 24% from 32,158 tons in May, and were up 70% from 23,427 tons in June 2003, it said.


Beef exports in the first calendar half of 187,087 tons were up 38% from 135,952 tons in the year-earlier period, it said.


Crombie said the value of Australian beef exports to Japan in the first calendar half jumped 44% or A$250 million to A$821 million from the year- earlier period.


Demand for Australian beef in Japan has increased this year due to the absence of U.S. and Canadian beef from the market, combined with tight supply of chicken and higher pork prices, he said.


Japan decided to ban imports of U.S. and Canadian beef after single cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, were discovered in both countries in 2003.


Japanese and other importers, including South Korea, turned to Australia, a major global supplier, to fill the gap created by the import bans on North American beef.


"The disruptions to the global beef trade have reshaped trade dynamics, and now is the time for the Australian industry to cement its role as the premier supplier of safe and tasty beef products to the world," Crombie said.


"Our marketing efforts to date have been extremely successful in assisting Australia exporters to capture opportunities in Japan. However, it is now important that we consolidate the gains we have made," he said.


Australia exports about A$4 billion of beef a year, making the industry a cornerstone of farming.

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