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Argentina to Open to U.S. Pork

The White House recently announced that the U.S. and Argentina have reached an agreement that will allow U.S. pork to be exported to Argentina for the first time since 1992. Though no exact timeline has been established, the market is expected to open once Argentine officials have completed an audit of the U.S. meat inspection system. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service must also outline export requirements for U.S. pork destined for Argentina.

Brazil is currently Argentina’s primary supplier of imported pork, and will likely export about 32,000 metric tons (mt) of pork to Argentina this year, valued at about $95 million. Argentina is more than 90 percent self-sufficient in pork production but based on past experience the Argentine pork market has room for further import growth, as imports were as high as 47,000 mt in 2011.

Argentina’s per capita pork consumption has expanded rapidly over the past several years, increasing 57 percent since 2011 to an estimated 13.5 kg this year (carcass weight equivalent), based on USDA estimates. USMEF anticipates most of the demand for U.S. pork will be for raw material – including hams, picnics and trimmings – for further processing, but there are also potential opportunities for U.S.-produced processed products. Because the U.S. and Argentina do not have a free trade agreement, U.S. pork will be subject to a 10 percent import duty and 16 percent for processed products, compared to zero tariffs on Brazilian pork products.