WASHINGTON (B)--South Korea's beef imports are expected to rise 26% in 2001 to 340,000 tonnes from 268,000 in 2000--with U.S. beef sales to South Korea rising 33% in 2001, according to United States Department of Agriculture attaché estimates dated Aug. 2 and released Aug. 7.

The rapid recovery of the South Korean economy, combined with a decline in South Korean beef output brought about by fears of a liberalized beef market beginning on Jan. 1, 2001, will boost imports, the attaché said.

The attaché said South Korea's pork imports are expected to decline to 70,000 tonnes in 2001 from 110,000 in 2000. Domestic pork production in 2000 is expected to increase to 1.02 million tonnes from 983,000 in 2000.

Because of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in South Korea earlier this year, the country will not export any pork in 2001, the attaché said.

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