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Prospects Improve for Return of U.S. Pork, Beef to South Africa

U.S. pork and beef currently lack access to South Africa

U.S. pork and beef currently lack access to South Africa

On June 5, trade officials from the United States and South Africa announced agreement on a framework for renewed market access for U.S. bone-in chicken in the South African market. But the joint statement issued by the two governments also indicated they had “agreed to a firm set of actions this month to resolve the remaining sanitary issues related to poultry, pork and beef.”

Access for U.S. pork has been severely limited in South Africa due to restrictions related to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and trichinae, and the market closed completely to U.S. pork on June 1, 2013. Last year South Africa imported 24,725 metric tons (mt) of pork, with the EU being the primary supplier. This was a 21 percent decrease in volume from 2013, while import value fell 13 percent to $60 million. Imports from Canada fell nearly 80 percent in 2014 to just 1,680 mt, but volume through April of this year (1,948 mt) had already surpassed that total. Late last year South Africa announced resumption of access for Brazilian pork, but imports through April totaled just 28 mt.

South Africa never reopened to U.S. beef after closing in response to the December 2003 BSE case. Australia is the largest supplier of beef to South Africa, totaling 19,402 mt in 2014 – an increase of 36 percent year-over-year. Through April of this year, imports from Australia were 5,765 mt – down 5 percent from last year’s pace. South African Customs Union (SACU) member countries Namibia and Botswana are the next-largest suppliers, followed by New Zealand. Imports from New Zealand slowed in 2014 but have rebounded this year, with volume through April reaching 2,604 mt (+109 percent). Uruguay, Argentina, the United Kingdom and Ireland also supply relatively small volumes.

USMEF will report further details regarding pork and beef access to South Africa as more information becomes available. Exporters with questions about the market may email Cheyenne Dixon or call 303-623-6328.