WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2017 – U.S. pork producers have an additional export market in South America after an agreement was announced today by the White House.

Argentina will allow U.S. fresh, chilled, and frozen pork and pork products across its borders for the first time since 1992. The White House credited a recent meeting between Vice President Mike Pence and Argentine President Mauricio Macri this week and an April dialogue between Macri and President Donald Trump as key moments in developing the agreement.

In a statement, Pence called the announcement “a big win for American pork producers” that reflects the administration’s commitment “to breaking down international trade barriers and making free and fair trade a win-win for American workers, farmers, and our trading partners."

The White House cited animal health concerns for the reason behind the 25-year ban on U.S. pork in Argentina, but the National Pork Producers Council pointed instead to non-science barriers.

“U.S. pork producers are the most competitive in the world and we have long sought the opportunity to provide affordable, high-quality pork in Argentina,” NPPC President Ken Maschhoff said in a statement. He also thanked Pence, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for their work to “move a trade agreement that promises significant U.S. benefits over the finish line.”

No specific implementation timeline has been released, but Nick Giordano, NPPC vice president and counsel for global government affairs, tells Agri-Pulse that the Trump administration plans to get the details worked out as soon as possible, and he has "every reason to believe the Argentine government isn't going to drag its feet."

"It's hard to think it'll take as long as the end of the year," he said. "We've been waiting since 1992, so a few more months isn't going to kill us."

A White House release estimated Argentina as a potential $10-million market annually for pork producers. According to figures from the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the U.S. exported $335 million in total pork exports to Central and South America in 2016.


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