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Australia to grab more of Japanese market

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Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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Southern Manitoba
Mad cow campaign needs beefing up
By Blair Speedy
June 30, 2005
THE transaction levy paid by beef cattle farmers is set to rise by more than 40 per cent to fund a marketing campaign to shore up export markets, following confirmation of a second case of mad cow disease in the US.

Australian beef producers had been bracing for the re-introduction of US beef into Japan, which had banned its importation in 2003 after the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was found.
Without US competition, Australia increased beef exports to Japan by 41 per cent in 2004, and now accounts for 90percent of Japan's beef imports, with annual sales of $2.2billion - more than half Australia's $4 billion worth of annual beef exports.

But a fall in beef consumption during the BSE scare overshadowed this, and industry leaders are worried new cases could lead to demand falling again, especially for Australia.

Beef Industry Funding Steering Committee chairman Don McDonald said consumers became wary of food products regardless of their origin when a new disease outbreak was reported.

"Because Australia is free of this disease, there could be opportunities for us to take and hold more of the Japanese market, because the US will be kept out for a while longer. But while there could be some short-term benefits, disease in any food chain doesn't inspire confidence," he said.

Producers and other beef industry participants now pay a $3.50 transaction levy every time an animal is sold. The industry introduced it in 1994 to fund animal health programs, research and development, and marketing, which takes 50-60per cent of funds raised.

Industry participants are now being asked to approve a $1.50 increase in the levy, which would double funding for marketing to more than $40 million per year.

"If there are not adequate marketing resources directed towards maintaining consumer confidence, then demand for all beef, whether it be from Australia or elsewhere, will definitely fall," Mr McDonald said, adding the levy amounted to 0.6 per cent of the sale price of the average beef cow.

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