US Beef Imports Surge Into Japan

US - Japan imported 52,037 tonnes swt of beef in September, the highest monthly volume since July 2005, according to data released by the Ministry of Finance, Japan.
calendar icon 4 November 2010
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Meat & Livestock Australia

Imports from the US surged 84 per cent year-on-year, to 11,174 tonnes swt, exceeding 10,000 tonnes for the first time since the resumption of the US beef trade to Japan in July 2006, Meat and Livestock Australia analysts report.

Frozen beef shipments from the US increased by 132 per cent year-on-year, to 7,251 tonnes, largely supported by strong demand for briskets (74 per cent of total). Chilled imports grew by 33 per cent to 3,922 tonnes, with 55 per cent being shoulder and round cuts.

Frozen imports from Australia also lifted strongly during the month, increasing 57 per cent year-on-year, to 22,042 tonnes. However, the chilled beef intake was subdued, falling eight per cent to 12,110 tonnes.

In the nine-months to September 2010, total Japanese beef imports reached 369,061 tonnes - up four per cent from the corresponding period in 2009. Supplies from Australia and the US during the nine months totalled 263,473 tonnes (down three per cent year-on-year) and 63,248 tonnes (up 28 per cent from last year, but still only 32 per cent of the pre-BSE 2003), respectively.

In regards to Japans safeguard mechanism, imports of chilled and frozen beef during April to September 2010 were lower than the trigger levels set for the period in JFY 2010. The safeguard mechanism gives Japan the option to increase the beef tariff from 38.5 per cent to 50 per cent once trigger levels are exceeded. Frozen beef imports during the period reached 149,982 tonnes, 94 per cent of the cumulative trigger level (160,040 tonnes).

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