Exclusive: Where’s the beef? Argentine ranchers hope more is headed for China

BUENOS AIRES/BEIJING (Reuters) – Cattle ranchers in Argentina, which recently edged out neighbor Brazil as the top exporter of beef to China, are hoping to build on that status by getting more local meatpacking plants approved by Beijing, industry officials and other sources told Reuters. An Argentine industry group is currently in China looking to promote the South American country’s famed T-bone steaks and sirloins, while Chinese teams have recently inspected Argentine local meat plants, the sources said. The push, after a massive spike in Argentine beef exports to the world’s No. 2 economy this year, underscores how China is looking to diversify its protein supply, shaking up the global meat trade as African swine fever hammers its domestic hog herd. It is also an important windfall for Latin America’s No. 3 economy, which is battling to get out of a deep recession and facing a swirling debt crisis ahead of elections in October that will likely usher in a new government. Argentina, which traditionally exports cheaper cuts to China, saw its beef sales to the country more than double to $870 million in the first seven months of the year, data from its official INDEC statistics agency shows. Chinese… continue reading

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