Argentina says its close to inking a two-way beef deal with US
Argentina is on the verge of signing a deal with the United States that would allow two-way trade of fresh beef for the first time in nearly two decades, the South American country’s international trade secretary, Marisa Bircher, told Reuters.
The agreement, expected to be signed within days, would simultaneously open beef imports to both countries, Bircher said in an interview.
“We are negotiating the reopening to happen over the days ahead,” she said. “All the technical and administrative questions have been settled.”
At a time when the country is seeking to boost beef sales abroad, the agreement would allow Argentina to show other prospective buyers that its meat is healthy enough to enter a country with some of the world’s toughest sanitary protocols.
The deal would also open a new market for the U.S. cattle sector, although demand for U.S. beef is low in Argentina. The country is famous for its quality steaks, some tender enough to be cut with a spoon as demonstrated with a flourish by waiters in the iconic steak houses of Buenos Aires.
Argentina will have a 20,000 tonne limit on its exports to the United States, Bircher said, while there will be no limit on U.S. beef going to Argentina.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative’s Office in Washington, and the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires did not respond to requests for comment.
Bircher said Argentina stopped exporting beef to the United States about 17 years ago due to U.S. concerns about Argentine cattle being contaminated by foot-and-mouth disease.