Exports of U.S. meat to Japan and Korea, especially chilled pork, were adversely affected by the West Coast longshoremen’s dispute, U.S. Meat Export Federation reported during its annual board of directors meetings.
The element of unreliability in supply of the vital chilled pork market could drive buyers to turn to pork from domestic and competitor sources.
In addition to delivery problems, Japanese buyers ordered less October-produced U.S. meat. Prior to the strike the September Japanese pork import figures showed a 132 percent increase in pork imports from September 2001. It will be interesting to see the impact the dock dispute had on the climbing pork import numbers.
Prior to the strike, the September Japanese import figures showed an 18.1 percent decline in total beef imports, compared to September 2001.
In South Korea, the shortage of chilled U.S. beef also prompted some Korean traders to import U.S. chilled beef by air, thus impacting Korean prices. The price increase drove some retailers to cancel or postpone U.S. beef promotions and promote domestic product instead and some restaurants to offer lower quality items or to turn to Australian beef.