Argentina Now Open to U.S. Pork
Published: Apr 16, 2018
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On April 13, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that U.S. pork and pork products are eligible for export to Argentina.
U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom says Argentina is open to a full range of pork muscle cuts and many pork variety meat items are also eligible. Buyer interest has already emerged for the pork shoulder butt and Halstrom also anticipates demand for U.S. hams and picnics to be used as raw material for further processing. He adds that USMEF has been researching the Argentine market for some time in order to identify commercial opportunities for U.S. pork and its South America representative, Jessica Julca, is scheduled to be in Argentina this week (April 16-20) to meet with importers and other prospective buyers.
Brazil is currently Argentina’s primary supplier of imported pork. In 2017, Argentina reported imports of just over 35,000 metric tons (mt) of pork and pork variety meat, with 32,500 mt sourced from Brazil and the remainder from Denmark, Spain and Italy. Total import value in 2017 was $114.4 million. Argentina’s per capita pork consumption has grown rapidly over the past several years, increasing nearly 60 percent since 2011 to 13.5 kilograms (based on USDA estimates). Argentina is the third-largest pork-importing country in South America, behind Chile and Colombia.
Joe Schuele: The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have announced that Argentina is now open to exports of U.S. pork. In this U.S. Meat Export Federation report, President and CEO Dan Halstrom says it’s important to note that the market is open to a full range of pork muscle cuts and some pork variety meats – something on which the U.S. industry is anxious to capitalize.
Dan Halstrom: Our organization feels as though USDA and USTR did a phenomenal job in getting this deal done. Access is pretty much wide open on the cut side, so this provides more avenues, more destinations, for some of these key cuts in a time of large production, so we’re excited and we’re ready to go to work in the region. It will start as a smaller market – estimates out there, you know, we’re looking at $10 million a year in sales, but we see a lot of upside potential from that number, especially with some key products. We already know that Argentina is going to have some demand for boneless shoulder butt, we also think there’s some opportunity for raw material for further processing, things like picnics and hams. It could also be a very good market for variety meats, as well.
Joe Schuele: U.S. pork has already achieved significant success with South America in market such as Colombia, Chile and Peru. The White House first announced in August that Argentina had agreed to accept U.S. pork. This provided time for USMEF to research commercial opportunities, develop business contacts and lay some groundwork in the market.
Dan Halstrom: The relationship building, the work with the trade, it’s ongoing in a lot of these markets that are even established today like Colombia and Chile. We’ve already started that process in Argentina. Our manager in South America, Jessica Julca, she’s planning to be down there soon, so it’s exciting in general. At this point, every big market is important for the U.S. producers, so this another one that’s going to add value to the key cuts.
Joe Schuele: For more on this and other trade issues, please visit usmef.org. For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Joe Schuele.