Canadian pork cleared for Argentina


Argentina is now ready to import Canadian pork for the first time in about 15 years, federal officials report.

Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced Wednesday that access to the Argentinian market has been restored for Canadian pork effective “immediately.”

Canadian pork processors had started shipping to Argentina in 1998, but according to Cesar Urias, director of market access for Canada Pork International (CPI), Argentina suspended Canadian processors’ export eligibility starting in 2002.

According to the Canadian Pork Council, the Canadian product had run afoul of certain import requirements. Among those cited were Canadian producers’ use of ractopamine, a beta-agonist growth promotant, as a feed additive.

Urias, speaking last year on the industry program Farmscape, said CPI had asked the federal government in about 2011-12 to approach Argentina on restoring access.

Talks between the two countries led to a meeting last fall between Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at which time the two had “acknowledged the necessary steps to complete the process to allow for the export of pork meat and live swine from Canada.”

CPI board chair Neil Ketilson, in the government’s release Wednesday, described the Argentinian market as “a solid opportunity to further develop and diversify Canadian pork exports in South America.”

The federal government, in its release Wednesday, quoted Canadian pork industry officials as estimating the value of market access to Argentina at up to $16 million per year.

Urias last year said that figure could eventually run as high as $30 million, depending on domestic demand.

“This is variable, obviously, because there’s still strong competition from the Brazilians in Argentina, but we believe we do have a product that is suitable for Argentinean needs,” he said at the time.

Pork has been a “comparatively limited proportion” of animal protein consumption in Argentina compared to beef and chicken, the Canadian Meat Council said last year, but noted Argentina’s agriculture ministry had forecast pork consumption to double over the 10 years from 2010 to 2020.

Access to Argentina for Canadian pork “is an important step in our valued and growing relationship, and evidence that engagement produces results,” Champagne said in Wednesday’s release.

According to the federal government, Canada’s total exports of agricultural products, agrifood and seafood in 2016 were valued at $12.6 million, mainly in durum at $3 million and in alfalfa and dairy bovine semen at $2.4 million each. — Network


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