First U.S. Beef Shipment Arrives in South Africa Since Trade Agreement

Since 2003, the U.S. has been unable to export beef to the South African market, but on Monday, May 16, the USDA announced the arrival of the first shipment of beef to South Africa in years. 

“The arrival of U.S. beef in South Africa represents another important milestone in efforts by USDA and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to regain access to this important market,” says Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture.

After two years of serious conversations, the Republic of South Africa and the U.S. agreed to remove any trade barriers between them in January 2016. This agreement came after the two countries agreed on specific sanitary barriers and related health certificates for not just beef, but also pork and poultry products.  

U.S. poultry has not been exported to South Africa since 2000. South Africa hasn’t taken in any U.S. pork since 2013—much more recently than the ban on poultry and beef. Now that those barriers have been knocked down, U.S. meat exports to South Africa could reach $75 million each year. 

“Along with poultry, South African consumers now have access to high-quality, safe, and wholesome U.S. beef, and U.S. producers and exporters have gained another valuable market for their products,” Vilsack says.

The first shipment of U.S. poultry – nearly 12,000 metric tons – shipped out to South Africa earlier this year. That poultry shipment was worth $7.2 million. 

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