The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) announced an enhanced initiative to address the impact of non-science-based import regulations on U.S. beef exports to South Korea and help regain what was once the No. 3 export market for the U.S. beef industry.
USMEF will utilise $1 million in competitive cost-share grant funds awarded to it last week through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Market Access Program (MAP) to augment its current efforts to increase sales of beef and beef products in Korea. USMEF will also seek an additional $10 million in MAP funding this year to implement a five-year strategy to further expand U.S. beef exports to Korea.
South Korea was the United States’ third-largest beef export market in 2003 prior to the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the U.S. Korea imported 246,595 metric tons (543.6 million pounds) of U.S. beef valued at $815 million that year. In the seven years since then, Korea has imported a total of 253,738 metric tons of product, with much of that coming in 2010. Export levels in 2010 still remained below half of pre-BSE levels.
The initiative announced is an important step in USMEF’s long-term strategy to reach out to key stakeholders in Korea and provide the necessary resources to build Korean consumer confidence in U.S. beef, educate consumers and retailers about U.S. beef safety assurance and inspection systems, promote science-based decision-making and the adoption of international standards to facilitate trade, and deepen understanding of the science behind the rules adopted by international standards-setting bodies.
As part of this process, USMEF is developing the framework for a five-year, $10 million campaign targeting this key Asian market. USMEF will seek additional funds for this strategic plan from USDA’s MAP program through its 2012 fiscal year Unified Export Strategy (UES) market development application.