The Argentine government recently announced a suspension of most beef exports, with a stated goal of bolstering domestic supplies. While some may view this as a potential boost for U.S. beef exports, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Economist Erin Borror says the export suspension is of little benefit to anyone, and past experience suggests it will negatively impact both beef producers and consumers in Argentina. In the past, Argentina’s export restrictions created great uncertainty for ranchers and cattle feeders and made them less profitable, causing a pullback in production. With less beef being produced, consumption also suffered.
The suspension does not apply to beef variety meat or to beef muscle cuts exported under specific quotas. So Argentina can continue to export some beef cuts to the European Union and the small volumes exported to the United States can also continue. Argentina currently accounts for 8% of total global beef exports, with more than 70% of its 2021 exports destined for China. While Borror says China will definitely be the market most impacted by the suspension, she does not feel it will significantly influence U.S. exports, as U.S. grain-fed beef shipments to China were already on the rise and compete primarily with Australian product.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (www.USMEF.org) is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations. USMEF complies with all equal opportunity, non-discrimination and affirmative action measures applicable to it by contract, government rule or regulation or as otherwise provided by law. USMEF is an equal opportunity employer and provider.