For the first time in 13 years, American producers in November 2016 surpassed Australia in beef imports that have cleared customs into South Korea.
The Korea Customs Service reported recently that 13,921 tons of American beef were brought into the country in November versus only 10,310 tons from the Land Down Under. That’s up 20 percent over November 2015, and export value is up 21 percent to $619 million—the highest it has been since July 2013.
Even better news for American beef producers is the fact that even before December 2016’s numbers are in, 2016’s exports to South Korea have already shattered 2015’s final tally of $847.4 million. From January through November 2016, American producers exported $929.3 million to South Korea—a whopping 25 percent increase. When December’s numbers are reported, South Korea will join Japan, Hong Kong, Canada and Mexico as the fifth nation to import more than $1 billion worth of American beef in a single year.
Overall U.S. beef exports in November 2016 made up almost 15 percent of all production and 11.7 percent for just muscle cuts—the best levels in two years. 2016 exports through November account for 13.5 percent of all U.S. production—up 13 percent from 2015’s numbers. November’s per-head beef export value reached a 2016 high of $294—up 5 percent from a year earlier.
This historic rise in American beef exports to South Korea underscores the tremendous importance of international trade to our industry. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association continues to work to break down unnecessary trade barriers so American producers can have greater access to the 96 percent of the world’s consumers who live outside our country.
The ever-growing Asian markets of China and Japan remain vitally important, where limited access and high tariffs continue to put American producers at an unnecessary disadvantage to producers in nations like Australia.