CENTENNIAL, Colo. – US beef made strong gains in Russia during the first half of 2012, according to the beef checkoff.

Beef and beef variety meat exports to Russia advanced 17 percent in volume (84.2 million lbs.) and 57 percent in value ($162.2 million) year-on-year through the first half of 2012. Prospects are positive for continued growth following Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“The duty on frozen beef muscle cuts will remain unchanged at 15 percent,” said Thad Lively, senior vice president for trade access for the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a contractor to the beef checkoff. “However, the US beef industry is already benefiting from the WTO accession because of Russia's commitment to increase the quota on US beef imports. That quota was only 47 million pounds in 2010 and 92 million pounds last year, but for 2012 it has been increased to 132 million pounds.”

The majority of US beef exports to Russia are frozen, according to the checkoff. However, the chilled beef category presents a new opportunity for US beef exporters, Lively said. Russia has established a new, 24-million-lbs. quota for chilled beef from suppliers outside of the European Union, according to the checkoff.