CHICAGO – U.S. beef exports to Japan in 2015 fell from the previous year, the first time in 11 years, losing market share to Australian beef.
Beef exports from the United States dropped 19 percent to nearly $1.3 billion, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
The last such decline in beef exports to Japan occurred in 2004, when they plunged due to an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.
Australia’s beef exports to Japan rose in 2015 on the back of the “tariff advantage” under the economic partnership agreement between the two countries, which went into effect in January last year, according to the federation.
The results may further boost hopes in the U.S. beef industry for the early effectuation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free trade agreement, which Japan, the United States and 10 other nations signed this month.
In 2015, U.S. pork exports to Japan were also sluggish, dropping 18 percent to around $1.6 billion, the lowest level since 2009.
The federation attributed the slump to “increasing competition in Japan, especially from European suppliers.”
Global exports of U.S. meat were sluggish as well, reflecting the appreciation of the dollar. Beef exports fell 12 percent to $6.3 billion, while pork shipments declined 16 percent to nearly $5.6 billion.
Japan remained the top export destination both for U.S. beef and pork on a value basis, and came second following Mexico in volume.