October 28, 2008
US imports levelled up within the one-month period and accounted for 43 percent of all imports.
US beef imports rose tremendously in September, generated by consumer demand for premium sirloin and rib cuts, said a report by the Agro-Fisheries Trade Corp yesterday, Monday, 27 October 2008.
The state-run corporation said US imports totalled 7,030 tonnes worth US$43.98 million or roughly 35 percent of the total quantity of beef shipped into the country in the one-month period.
In terms of total value, US beef accounted for 43 percent of all imports, as US cuts are of higher values compared to those imported from Australia and New Zealand. Korea imported 20,253 tonnes of beef worth US$103.13 million last month.
The market was opened to most US cuts on June 26 after a new trade agreement took place. The findings showed US beef imports jumped 126 percent in terms of value and 136 percent in terms of quantity compared to August when inbound shipments reached 2,984 tonnes worth US$19.45 million.
An official source at Agro-Fisheries Trade said there is steady increase in demand for beef ribs that are sold at restaurants.
Presently, he speculates US beef would easily outpace rivals, especially since the recent gains were made despite the fact that US cuts are not sold at major retail outlets, department stores or large restaurant chains.
These businesses have said they will not handle US beef to avoid confrontation with consumer groups who claim that the meat is unsafe to eat. South Korea was rocked by massive nationwide protests after Seoul agreed to lift the long-standing ban on US beef on April 18 this year.
Imports of Australian beef which has been the best seller in the absence of US beef fell to 10,501 tonnes worth US$49.47 million in September.
The figure represents about 50 percent of all imports but is lower than the 70 percent market share, the meat enjoyed in May. Imports of New Zealand beef, which had ranked second, fell to 2,312 tonnes worth US$8.42 million. South Korea also imported small quantities of beef from Mexico and the Philippines.