It’s pretty common for bilateral deals that were worked out ahead of time to be celebrated at multi-national international conferences. That’s how a deal to allow Argentina to export raw beef to the United States came about on the sidelines of the G20 in Buenos Aires.
It was a success for President Donald J. Trump and Argentine President Mauricio Macri that was actually all settled right before the official start of the G20, which was in session Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Details about how the reciprocal trade will work are being worked out.
“Although Argentina has been eligible to export cooked and ready-to-eat processed beef products to the United States, it has not been eligible to export raw beef products for several years,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
“Upon completion of an audit of Argentina’s inspection system for beef slaughter and further processing, FSIS reinstated Argentina’s raw beef equivalency and has determined Argentina as eligible to export raw beef to the U.S. from cattle slaughtered on and after Nov. 27, 2018.”
This year’s G-20 Summit included numerous meetings held during the week prior to Nov. 30. Argentina is as celebrated for its beef, as it is for its Malbec wines and Pisco Sours.
As FSIS announced the opening of the U.S. market to Argentina’s raw beef in Washington, D.C., President Marci tweeted out the news in Buenos Aires calling it “Great News!”
The last export of raw Argentine beef to the United States occurred in 2001. Trade ended out of U.S. concerns over foot and mouth disease in the South American country. An Argentine vaccine program has lessened those concerns.
The FSIS ruling was the only remaining step for Argentina to re-enter the USA market with its raw beef products.
“It is an enormous opportunity,” Marci said. “The United States is the world’s main importer of food in general, as well as beef. Our producers will be able to go from a 44 million people market to one of the largest in the world, and that means more jobs for Argentines!”
According to Argentina’s international trade secretary Marisa Bircher, the agreement will permit unlimited U.S. beef exports to Argentina, but cap Argentine exports to the U.S. at 200,000 tons annually. Exports from Argentina to the U.S. could exceed that amount, with a 27 percent tariff.
Argentina’s raw beef exports are on the rise. China doubled its Argentine beef purchases in 2018, helping return Argentina to the world’s Top 10 beef producers.
The U.S. produced almost 12 million tons of beef during 2017, exporting 1.3 million. Argentina’s beef and veal production hit 2.8 million tons, with about 300,000 tons for the export market in 2017.
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