Pork exports from Brazil to Argentina dropped by 77% in February, after the implementation of new import restrictions, forcing exporters to apply for anticipated licences before entering the country. The Brazilian association of pork producers and exporters (Abipecs), said shipments amounted to 30 tonnes daily in February, compared to the usual 130 tonnes.
Abipecs president Pedro de Camargo Neto told GlobalMeatNews: “What Argentina is doing is completely against the rules of [Mercosur]. Both governments have to decide what they want for the future. Argentina is in the middle of an economic crisis. Brazil, as a partner, has to help whatever is possible, but that cannot include the type of prejudice pork is suffering.
“Importers from Argentina had informed that they expected reductions, but we did not imagine they would be so strong. It represents a market loss, hurting some companies in particular, and the general impact of that has to be absorbed in the domestic market.”
The Brazilian government is currently assessing the situation to come up with a response. Brazilian trade secretary Tatiana Prazeres told Reuters: “We expressed this preoccupation to Argentina, we asked for clarification and we are working to make sure that the issue doesn’t become an obstacle to our exports.”
Uruguay and Paraguay, also Mercosur members, have also suffered from the new restrictions, experiencing respective drops of 46.6% and 70% in exports.
Argentina introduced the measures in an effort to protect its trade surplus and stimulate domestic consumption in tough economic times.