S. Korea becomes world's third largest U.S. beef importer

13:02, July 16, 2010      

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South Korea has become the third largest importer of U.S. beef, after Mexico and Canada, on the back of a 66 percent surge in imports in the first five months of 2010 from a year earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.

South Korea imported a total of 37,117 tons of U.S. beef worth 163 million U.S. dollars in the January-May period, the ministry said, citing statistics released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

During the same period last year, imports of U.S. beef in South Korea amounted to 22,360 tons in volume and 83.8 million U.S. dollars in value, according to the ministry.

With its strong import growth, South Korea surpassed Japan for the first time to become the largest market for U.S. beef in Asia. Japanese imports of U.S. beef reached 36,698 tons in the January- May period.

The full opening of the South Korean market to U.S. beef is forecast to be one of the key issues for working-level talks on the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, expected to resume in late September.

However, experts say that at the current stage it is hard to predict the influence of the increase in U.S. beef exports to South Korea on the upcoming FTA negotiations, according to local media.

Source: Xinhua


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