With strong support and input from the National Pork Producers Council, the United States and Argentina last week finalized an export certificate that allows the U.S. pork industry to once again ship product to the South American country.
The new opening represents the first time in 25 years that U.S. pork will be allowed into Argentina, which has the potential to be a $10 million-a-year market for U.S. pork producers.
“Argentina has tremendous potential for U.S. pork exports,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, an Ohio pork producer. “This is great news for America’s pork producers, who last year exported almost $6.5 billion of pork around the world.”
Argentina, which had a de facto ban on U.S. pork, has a population of more than 44 million and a per capita income of $17,250—higher than Mexico’s—making it an attractive market for U.S. pork. Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes has noted that fresh pork consumption in the country has increased from about 2 lbs. in 2005 to 22 to 26 lbs. today. The Argentine pork industry estimates that by 2020, consumption will increase to 35 to 44 lbs.
NPPC helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture address concerns raised by Argentine officials, and in October, the organization urged the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to reinstate Argentina’s eligibility for the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, which allows some foreign products into the United States without tariffs, after the country in August agreed to re-open its market to U.S. pork imports. The export certificate allows the shipment of fresh, frozen and processed pork to the South American country.
“This development demonstrates the Argentine government’s commitment to expanded and more open trade with the United States,” said Heimerl. “And it will help us grow our exports, which the U.S. pork industry is very dependent on. Last year’s exports, for example, added more than $53—representing almost 36 percent of the $149 average value of a hog in 2017—to the price we received for each animal marketed.
“The United States can’t sit on its hands when it comes to trade. Opening new markets, such as Argentina, and expanding existing markets is imperative.”