Brazil has been the biggest importer of beef into the European Union for the past three years.

Figures in the EU Meat Market Observatory show that Brazil exports significantly more beef to the EU than any other country.

In 2016, the amount of Brazilian beef increased to 130,684t per carcase weight (pcw) from January to November.

This was up on the previous year, when beef imports were 124,427t pcw.

Brazil is a major competitor in the beef market for Ireland, particularly in international countries.

EU took more beef in 2016

January to November 2014 saw a higher level of beef come into European markets, with 131,426t pcw recorded.

The second biggest importer for the past three years has been Uruguay, sending just over 50,000t in 2016 to the EU.

The other countries that exported the most beef to European countries include Argentina, Australia and the US.

In total, the EU had more beef imports last year compared with 2015, rising to 309,694t pcw compared with 298,034t.

Meanwhile, 2014 also saw a high level of beef coming to countries in the EU, with 306,554t recorded.

The majority of beef imported into the EU is fresh, with a smaller percentage frozen or prepared.

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