November 18, 2005


Australian beef exports will face challenges


David Crombie, chairman of Meat & Livestock Australia, said Australian beef exports would face a significant challenge with Japan and South Korea expected to lift their bans on US beef soon.


Australian beef exports to Japan and South Korea surged, after both countries banned US beef due to mad cow disease two years ago.


While exact dates for the bans to be lifted have not yet been announced, it was widely expected that US beef exports to both countries would resume early next year.


Crombie added that the "ominous and continual threat" of animal disease, food safety concerns and competition from alternative food sources, also challenged Australia's beef industry.


He cited Australia's disease free status as an advantage and key to the industry's access to global markets. Thus, there was a need to maintain it against competitors such as Brazil, "whose cost base is half ours.                      


Australia is only second to Brazil in global beef exports, with export value the previous fiscal year ending June 30 surging 24 percent to A$4.88 billion.


However, Crombie said animal rights activists, growing trade barriers and the slow pace of international trade negotiations would also challenge strong growth.

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