Coming back to a grill near you: Argentine steaks
By Maximilian Heath
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina could reclaim a strong presence on dining tables worldwide by exporting up to twice as much beef in the next two years, after the new center-right government cut export taxes and quotas on the red meat, industry groups said.
Exports of world-famous Argentine steaks have tumbled, largely due to the trade controls imposed by the former left-leaning government which designed to keep local butchers well supplied and suppress prices.
A decade ago, Argentina was the world's third biggest beef exporter, with annual shipments of about 771,000 tonnes.
Argentina's Meat Industry and Trade Chamber (Ciccra) estimated beef exports will increase to 300,000 tonnes in 2017 from 200,000 tonnes last year, while the Aacrea association of meat producers forecast 350,000 tonnes. Agriculture consultancy group Tonelli & Associates put the figure at 400,000 tons.
The groups spoke to Reuters last week.
"Argentina is returning to the market," Mario Ravettino, president of the Consortium of Meat Exporters ABC, declared.
Argentina lifted restrictions on beef in the second week of January, a month after center-right Mauricio Macri took office on a platform to liberalize the spluttering economy.
Ricardo Negri, secretary for agriculture, livestock and fisheries said in a telephone interview that Argentina hoped to start shipping beef to the United States and Canada after both lifted their own restrictions on Argentine beef. It would also increase shipments to established markets such as Russia and China, he said. Continued...