July 8, 2008


New Zealand beef to struggle for South Korean market share


With the return of US beef, New Zealand beef exporters are expecting a tough competition for the lucrative South Korean market.


US beef producers are expected to cut prices in a bid to rebuild confidence among South Korean consumers, a move that will pressurise the market, according to Mike Petersen, chairman of Meat and Wool New Zealand (MWNZ).


South Korea is one of New Zealand's largest beef market, accounting for 12 percent of New Zealand's beef production last year.


MWNZ has been strongly promoting its grass-fed beef in South Korea and other markets where US beef was banned following the detection of mad cow disease four years ago. Petersen is hopeful that the four years would have helped New Zealand grass-fed beef to maintain its foothold in South Korea.


Petersen said news of US beef's return had disrupted buying patterns as importers were holding back and waiting for the arrival of US beef.


However, ill-feelings about US beef among South Korean consumers have delayed the imports repeatedly and protests have led to injured policemen, damaged police vehicles. The US beef row that rocked South Korea has also led to the agriculture, welfare and education ministers to leaving their posts.

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