Australian beef exports to Japan and Korea have jumped to near record highs due to ongoing restrictions on imports of US beef following the detection of a case of BSE, or mad cow disease, in the US in December.

According to meat marketer Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Australia’s total beef and veal exports rose 9% to 76,598 tonnes in March compared to the year-ago period, reported Reuters.

Australia’s beef exports to Japan rose 29% in March to 29,713 tonnes shipped weight compared to March last year, while exports to Korea rose 36% to 9,485 tonnes.

Exports to Japan rose 11% to 88,430 tonnes in the first quarter of 2004, while exports to Korea rose 6% to 18,276 tonnes.

Shipments to the US, Indonesia, Taiwan and the EU also rose in March, MLA said.