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Potential Argentina-U.S. bilateral beef trade agreement

Published: 05 Dec, 2018

Marisa Bircher, Argentina’s International Trade Secretary, said the country is close to signing a trade a deal with the U.S., which would simultaneously open beef imports to both countries.

In an interview with Reuters, Bircher said the agreement, for which the technical and administrative questions have already been settled, would allow a two-way trade of fresh beef for the first time in 17 years. The deal would also open a new market for the U.S. beef sector, but domestic demand for beef is low in Argentina. According to Bircher, Argentina is to have a 20,000 tonnes limit on its exports to the U.S., but there would be no limit on U.S. beef going to Argentina.

“Opening the border to raw beef from Argentina is certain to put downward pressure on U.S. cattle prices, and meatpackers will be able to use this cheaper, undifferentiated beef as a direct substitute for beef produced by U.S. cattle producers,” said Bill Bullard, Chief Executive, R-CALF USA. Contacted by Reuters, both the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office in Washington declined to comment. Argentina had stopped exporting beef to the U.S. due to concerns regarding contamination of Argentine cattle by foot-and-mouth disease. Click here for more information about subscribing.

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