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Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Retail Success Drives U.S. Beef’s Remarkable Growth in Korea

U.S. beef exports climbed by more than $1 billion in 2018, reaching a record $8.33 billion. South Korea accounted for about half of this growth, with exports increasing $526 million to $1.75 billion – a 43 percent jump from 2017. Korea is now the second-largest international destination for U.S. beef in both volume and value, trailing only Japan, and the United States accounts for 58 percent of Korea’s chilled beef imports.

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Korea Director Jihae Yang offers more details on U.S. beef’s soaring popularity in Korea in the attached audio report.

Jihae Yang on 2018 beef exports to Korea 3-11-19

She notes that Korean consumers crave high-quality, well-marbled beef, and U.S. beef is now available to a wider range of consumers because of ample supplies and lower import duties under the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). Since KORUS took effect in 2012, the duty rate on U.S. beef cuts has dropped from 40 to 18.7 percent, and will decline to zero by 2026.

Yang notes that U.S. beef has achieved tremendous growth in Korea’s retail sector, including COSTCO-Korea’s conversion of its chilled beef offerings from Australian to U.S. beef. But consumer preferences and shopping habits are ever-changing, so USMEF is working to increase the presence of U.S. beef in less traditional retail outlets such as convenience stores and e-commerce platforms.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation ( is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations.   

Submitted to the BARN by:

Joe Schuele

Vice President, Communications

U.S. Meat Export Federation

303-226-7309 (office)

303-547-0030 (mobile)

By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.

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