AUSTRALIAN beef exports to Korea for the calendar year-to-September totalled just over 109,000 tonnes (shipped weight), according to figures from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
This was a slip of about 15 per cent year-on-year.
Grassfed beef exports declined 20pc year-on-year, to 71,000t, and Meat and Livestock Australia said this was underpinned by reduced Australian availability and strong demand for grassfed product from both Japan and China.
Furthermore, concerns related to import financing and limitations with regards to the new anti-graft legislation have also contributed to the decline.
Also playing on exporters minds is that Australian beef exports to Korea continue to be supported by the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA).
Under KAFTA, the current tariff (2017) on beef stands at 29.3pc and this will be entirely eliminated by 2028.
But, based on current Korean customs import figures, 97.4p of the 164,045t (2017) beef safeguard has been filled, with the prospect of a tariff increase being implemented in the coming weeks.
MLA said although Australian cattle supplies remain somewhat limited and there is a short time frame in which the 40pc safeguard tariff would be applied, the triggering of the safeguard will still be disruptive.
It will also provide US beef with a 16pc tariff preference until the end of 2017.
In addition, there is the potential for a similar scenario to occur next year, whereby the carryover stocks contribute to the safeguard being triggered.
It’s worth noting that exports of Australian beef to Korea reached record levels in 2016, underpinned by long-term economic growth, demographic shifts and strong consumer awareness.