South Korea has reclaimed its position as the No. 3 market for U. S. beef after lifting a five-year ban put in place following the first case of mad cow disease in the United States in 2003.
Industry sources expect sales to South Korea to continue rising in coming months amid some stability in the currency markets and as the cookout season begins.
In the first two months of the year, South Korea imported 13,100 tonnes of U. S. beef, including organs such as the heart and kidney, according to the U. S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
South Korea, along with Vietnam, increased imports even as the top two U. S. beef buyers, Mexico and Canada, respectively, slowed purchases due to weakened currencies.
Overall, total U. S. beef exports increased two per cent in volume to 132,612 tonnes in the first two months of the year. Mexico’s imports declined by 22 per cent in volume and Canada by 14 per cent. Imports to Vietnam jumped 101 per cent.