The U.S. beef industry continues to capitalize on its recently expanded access to Japan. With April exports more than doubling last year’s performance, exports to Japan moved 49 percent higher in volume (132 million pounds) and 44 percent higher in value ($382.3 million) for the year.

This made Japan the leading destination for U.S. beef in both volume and value, overtaking Canada.

“Many observers felt USMEF’s growth projections for Japan were overly bullish,” Seng said. “But we were keenly aware of the unmet demand from existing buyers and the opportunities to secure new business once we had a wider supply available. This shows once again the importance of having experienced staff on the ground who know how to direct marketing resources in a way that will maximize results.”

U.S. beef exports to Canada slowed in April, though volume (122 million pounds, +10 percent) and value ($355,321, +15 percent) remained higher for the year.

Exports to Hong Kong, which also recently expanded access for U.S. beef to include bone-in cuts and some products from cattle over 30 months of age, soared by 87 percent in volume (61 million pounds) and 79 percent in value ($158.6 million) in the first four months of the year.

Taiwan also continues to perform extremely well in 2013, with exports beating last year’s pace by 84 percent in volume (23.9 million pounds) and 129 percent in value ($84.6 million). While exports to Taiwan slowed in 2011 and 2012 due to an impasse over beta agonists, this year’s January-April exports exceed the pace achieved when this market was performing at its peak.

In addition to the Russia closure, beef exports were hampered by slow demand in Mexico and South Korea. In the case of Mexico, the price point relative to other competing proteins continues to be an issue that has proven difficult to overcome as exports declined 22 percent in volume (125 million pounds) and 25 percent in value ($242.7 million) compared to a year ago.

In Korea, the main issue is an over-supply of domestic protein, which has created a difficult climate for imported products. Exports to Korea were down 20 percent in volume (83 million pounds) and 9 percent in value ($199.7 million).

Exports also slumped to the ASEAN region due to weak demand in Vietnam and ongoing trade barriers in Indonesia. This was partially offset by a strong performance in the Philippines, where exports were up 16 percent in volume (10 million pounds) and 35 percent in value ($21.3 million).

Complete export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available online. For more information about your beef checkoff investment in foreign marketing programs, visit


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