Japan and USA vie for top spot as leading Australian beef importer

beefchunks KoosSchwaneberg sxchuAustralian beef exports are expected to hit a record high this year, as Japan and USA eye the top spot as key buyer

Australian agriculture and water resources minister Barnaby Joyce said that his country exported beef worth US$5.03mn by September this year and the projected total for the year will be an all-time high figure, surpassing last year’s figure of US$5.53bn.

Specifically, Japan is the largest buyer of Australian beef, with a 60 per cent share, said a report in the Nikkei Asian Review. However, USA is competing with Japan for Australian beef with a 65 per cent YoY rise in share by September 2015. This is mainly due to major droughts in USA’s leading beef producing regions such as Texas that has led to an increase in imports.

Beef trade in the Asia-Pacific region is likely to remain on a steady uptrend due partly to Japan's economic partnership agreement with Australia, which came into force in January 2015, as well as the recently reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade-liberalising pact. The TPP will come into effect after the participating countries, which include Japan, the USA and Australia, ratify the accord.

Australia will continue to welcome Japanese investment in its beef industry, said Joyce. Based on the TPP, Japan should develop a strategy to secure a stable supply of Australian beef, recommended Joyce. Already, Japanese companies have expanded their operations into Australia, including NH Foods, enhancing the country's beef exports to Japan, according to Joyce.

In addition, local cattle farmers sell calves to Japanese companies, which then fatten them up for export. This arrangement is beneficial for both Japanese and Australian businesses, Joyce concluded.

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