Export restrictions: Uruguay overtook Argentina as the second exporter of meat to China

The negative effects of the restrictions on the export of beef continue.

While in Argentina and until the end of the year the restrictions on the export of beef continue, beyond some flexibilities that were implemented and that the tariff quotas are exempted from the measures, the place that the country leaves in the international market is occupied for another. Such is the case of Uruguay. According to the data provided by the economist of the Mediterranean Foundation, Juan Manuel Garzón, it became the second supplier of meat to China and Argentina was in third place. Brazil is still the leader.

The economist pointed out that with the latest statistics released, Argentina went from supplying 23% of China’s demand to 11%, and Uruguay increased its share from 11% to 14%. To all this we must add that last week the monthly survey of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Meat and Derivatives of the Argentine Republic (CICCRA), reflected that in the period April-May China represented 81% of the total exported by the Argentine refrigeration industry, while last September it was 64.8% and in the same month last year it had reached 72.1%.

CICCRA’s monthly report also noted that Between January and September, national exports of beef stood at 437,100 tons by product weight, a volume that according to the entity’s specialists was similar to the same period last year, but when measured in equivalent tons of bone-in beef, it was reflected an annual decrease of 5.4%.

In the period analyzed, lA total of 325,300 tons of product weight were exported to Argentina to China, representing 74.4% of the total exported and registering an annual growth of 1.3%, and generating an income of foreign currency for 1,205.6 million dollars, showing a fall to 1.6% per annum. “As we highlighted in previous reports, the higher official controls applied in recent months translated into an improvement in the average price declared, which brought the average for the first nine months of the year to 3,706 dollars per tonnes of product weight and reduce the year-on-year fall to 2.9% ”, specified the members of the Chamber.

The comparison of Argentina and the rest of the countries that export meat to China.  (Twitter of Juan Manuel Garzón)
The comparison of Argentina and the rest of the countries that export meat to China. (Twitter of Juan Manuel Garzón)

On your personal Twitter account, Juan Manuel Garzón commented that between June and September of this year, among the main meat exporters, the only country that decreased its shipments to the world was Argentina. In that period, compared to what happened between January and May 2021, the fall was 16.5%, while Brazil grew by 41.6%, Uruguay by 22.9% and the United States by 6.2%. The economist warned that this situation was generated as a result of the official restrictions that began to be applied in May of this year, and recalled that until that moment the country had been maintaining a growing export level.

The economist pointed out, in dialogue with this medium, that there are two very clear periods so far this year. One is the one that occurred from January to May, where exports flowed in a free trade scheme and grew compared to the same period last year: in the first five months of 2021, Argentina traded by-products for 52,000 tons per month, against the 44,000 tons of last year. And since the official intervention in the cattle and meat chain, when analyzing what happened between June and September, there has been an 18% drop in exports.

“It is clear that there is not a problem of world demand, but there is a problem that the Government has decided to restrict the volumes to be sent to the international market. And since this measure was applied, Argentina began to move back in tons to China, which went out to look for other suppliers and replace what it cannot buy in our country, ”said Garzón. It should be remembered that until December 31, exports of canned or manufactured beef to China are quoted.

The Uruguay case

According to the statistics of the Uruguay XXI agency, last October the export requests, which include the Free zones, generated revenues of USD 897 million, registering an increase of 17.2% compared to the same month of 2020. In addition, exports from customs, which do not include free zones, stood at USD 782 million, an interannual increase of 16.6%.

On the other hand, between January and October of this year, exports of goods totaled USD 8,718 million, reflecting a growth of 31% in the inter-annual comparison. In turn, the figure is 12% higher than the accumulated record for January-October 2019, which indicates a recovery in exports compared to the previous levels of the pandemic.

In this context of rising exports, beef has made a significant contribution. The report showed that in the tenth month of the year, the marketing of Uruguayan meat to the world set a historical record, becoming the main export sector and the one with the greatest impact on the evolution of the total exported. In the aforementioned month, sales reached USD 259 million, a year-on-year increase of 75%.


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