U.S. products topped imported beef market for the first time in 14 years in South Korea thanks to their price appeal amid lessened safety concerns.
According to the Korea Rural Economic Institute on Monday, American beef imports last year amounted to 177,000 tons, up 13.5 percent from 2016 levels. Its rise came at the expense of Australian beef imports that long dominated the import market in Korea. Aussie meat imports fell 3.95 percent to 172,600 tons.
American beef was banned in December 2003 amid mad cow scare. The ban was conditionally lifted in 2008 for cattle aged less than 30 months after several rounds of talks between the two countries.
American beef’s price appeal shone after the anti-graft law that capped gift and meal taking by public servants, journalists, and public school teachers last year.
Imports from New Zealand amounted to 18,786 tons last year, down 16.5 percent, while Canadian brands rose 15.6 percent to 5,200 tons.
By Lee Yu-sup and Lee Ha-yeon
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