August 12, 2008


US beef exports to Japan robust on weak dollar


US beef exports to Japan are increasing with exports in May totaling 7,683 tonnes, the highest monthly figure in four and a half years, with total shipments in January-May increasing 58 percent from a year ago to 24,193 tonnes.


The growth came as the US dollar fell against the yen. Furthermore, the US beef industry also heavily promoted its beef and beef products, the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) said.


The development of "unique new beef cuts" that appeal to Japanese consumers also helped increase exports, the federation said.


Japan limits its imports of US beef to meat taken from cattle aged 20 months or younger, due to concerns over mad cow disease.


Despite the recent increase, however, US beef exports to Japan still stand at around 10 percent of peak levels.


According to USMEF, the limited number of age-verified cattle reduced US beef exports to Japan in 2007 to less than 9 percent of their peak, reached earlier in the decade, in volume and roughly 13 percent in value.


Calls for lifting the age limit are thus strong in the US. Meanwhile, Japan opposes abolishing the limit, though it may agree to relax it to 30 months.

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