Ranchers in Argentina set sights on bigger cut of Chinese market after beef exports rise
· Customs figures say that China imported 185,600 tonnes of beef from Argentina in first seven months of year
· Beijing has sent inspectors to examine meat export plants, while the South American industry has sent teams to China to ramp up sales pitch
via South China Morning Post (China) - 18 Sep, 2019
Cattle ranchers in Argentina, which recently edged out neighbour Brazil as the leading exporter of beef to China, are hoping to build upon that status by winning Beijing’s approval for more meatpacking plants, industry officials and other sources said.
An Argentine industry group is in China looking to promote the South American country’s T-bone steaks and sirloins, while Chinese teams recently inspected meat plants in Argentina, the sources said.
The push, after a spike in Argentine beef exports to the world’s second biggest economy this year, underscored how China is looking to diversify its protein supply, shaking up the global meat trade as African swine fever
sweeps its pig herd.
It is also an important windfall for Latin America’s third largest economy, which is battling to escape a deep recession and facing a debt crisis ahead of elections in October that are likely to usher in a new government.
Argentina, which traditionally exports cheaper cuts to China, reported that its beef sales to the country more than doubled to US$870 million in the first seven months of the year, data from its official INDEC statistics agency showed.
Chinese customs data showed that amounted to around 185,604 tonnes of beef, giving it the top share of the Chinese import market at 21.7 per cent, ahead of Brazil’s 21.03 per cent. That volume was a jump of 129 per cent compared to the year before.
Santiago del Solar, chief of staff to Argentina’s agriculture minister, said there were many slaughterhouses seeking approval and that China was working with Argentine food safety body, Senasa.
“We will have news in the coming months about more pork, poultry and beef slaughterhouses being approved for China,” he said, adding that Senasa was carrying some inspections on behalf of China using an “honour system”.
Argentina’s ranchers are now looking for more...