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Australia, New Zealand Could Benefit from US Mad Cow Scare - 2003-12-25

Beef exporters in Australia and New Zealand say the mad cow scare in the United States may benefit their own industries.

In Australia, the president of the Graziers Association, Barry Court, said the case could drive up the price for Australian beef. Mr. Court was quoted as saying he expected a big demand, especially in the United States.

The chairman of a New Zealand farmers group says the clampdown on U.S. beef could be a windfall for his country.

Australia's agriculture minister told local media that the ban by Asian nations will open up opportunities for local farmers in countries like Japan.

Japan and South Korea account for more than half of U.S. beef exports worth nearly $500 million.

The two countries banned U.S. beef exports this week. They were closely followed by Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Analysts say the Australian and New Zealand currencies strengthened due to the new export opportunities and shares in some cattle companies closed higher.

But they also warn that if another case of mad cow disease is discovered, it could lead to a major decline in global beef consumption.