South Korea was the largest importer of U.S. beef in March for the second straight month, as the supply of local beef plunged after foot-and-mouth disease hit the Asian country late last year, a government report shows.

South Korea imported 28,875 tons of U.S. beef in March, more than a three-fold increase from one year ago and a 53% jump from the previous month, according to Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The ministry cited the latest data released by the USDA.

South Korea's imports accounted for 26% of the U.S. beef shipped overseas in that month, outstripping the countries that have previously been top destinations for U.S. meat, including Mexico, Japan and Canada.

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