Argentina celebrates new beef deal with China

5 August 2016  •  Author(s): Roy Manuell

Despite a fundamental disagreement on an antibiotics contamination which saw a significant shipment of its meat destroyed by the Chinese government, Argentina is celebrating the renewal of a key beef trade deal.

argentinian beef china trade deal

The previous deal which expired in late June, was recently renewed following negotiations led by Carlos Casamiquela the Argentinian Minister for Agriculture. For a time it was doubtful that the two nations might be able to reconcile differences after China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) discovered traces of the banned antibiotic chloramphenicol on a large shipment of Argentinian beef.

It must be noted that China and the AQSIQ are currently undergoing a period of increased crackdown on food safety. In an article published in the People’s Daily, associated with the Communist Party, “the current rules on sanitary expectations will continue in force” while Casamiquela reassured that the primary purpose of the negotiations was to “ensure exports of Argentinian beef continue as normal”.

Despite signs that growth is slowing for the Chinese economy, beef imports show no sign of following this trend and this represents good news for Argentina whose exports to China are 80% agricultural. Furthermore, food security issues from Western suppliers frequently make the news on Chinese State television yet little coverage could be found of the Argentinian antibiotic problem.

This might be explained by China’s continued determination to invest in the South American nation, a crucial supplier of soybean and a vital recipient of investment from the Chinese fisheries firms.

While the EU might remain the most important importer of Argentinian beef in value terms, the deal struck in light of the antibiotic controversy indicates that China is extremely serious with regard to its business relationship with the South American country.

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