Exports to Korea increased by 30% year-on-year in volume to 239,676 metric tonnes (mt) and jumped 43% in value to $1.75 billion. This was an increase of $526 million over the 2017 record and more than doubled the value total posted in 2015.
Chilled beef exports to Korea increased 19% to 53,823 mt and climbed 29% in value to a record $525m.
USMEF said the success of US beef was driven by South Korea’s retail and foodservice sectors.
“There may have been no greater agricultural trade success story in 2018 than US beef exports to Korea,” said USMEF CEO Dan Halstrom.
“Less than a decade removed from street protests opposing the reopening of this market, Koreans now consume more US beef per capita than any international destination. This is a testament to the US beef industry’s strong commitment to the Korean market and the outstanding support received from the US Government – through both USDA promotional funding and the negotiation of the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), which has dramatically lowered import duties on US beef.”
Other Asian countries, such as Japan and Taiwan, were also credited by USMEF, as overall US beef exports reached 1.35m mt, up 7% from 2017 and exceeding the 2011 record by 5%.
Overall export value soared to $8.33bn, breaking the 2017 record by $1.06bn – an increase of 15%.
However, in other meat sectors, retaliatory tariffs on pork were blamed for its static export numbers. Pork exports for 2018 reached 2.44m mt, which was 0.5% below the 2017 record, and export value was $6.39bn, down 1% year-over-year.
Strong demand from Mexico for US lamb also hiked up figures, with lamb/lamb variety meat shipments climbing 77% in volume to 12,866 mt – the largest figure since 2012.