Despite restrictions, strong demand for U.S. beef in Colombia

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

Despite restrictions, strong demand for U.S. beef in Colombia
Colombia is the only trading partner to impose restrictions on imports of U.S. beef as a result of highly pathogenic avian influenza being detected in some lactating dairy cows. Homero Recio, U.S. Meat Export Federation Latin America representative, explains that Colombia currently will not accept beef from any of the nine states impacted by HPAI.

"While this started back around April 15, there was a lot of uncertainty for the first week or 10 days given that there was no official information passed on to our government," Recio says. "During that interim, our office down in Colombia was working closely with our government to see when we could get something official so that both exporters and importers would know how to respond. Since then, there has been some clarity to the situation.

"So currently, those nine states are ineligible to ship to Colombia. And it's unfortunate given that we have a free trade agreement with Colombia, that Colombia would take this action. However, we do have plants in other states where export certificates are now being granted and import certificates in Colombia are also being granted. So some trade has started back up. Clearly, the supply is going to be more limited, but yet, we still believe there are some really good opportunities even given the situation."

Despite Colombia’s restrictions, the business climate for U.S. red meat remains favorable, with strong demand from the retail and foodservice sectors.

"We feel very good about the market and the demand for U.S. beef. The wet market is still the traditional method for marketing protein in Colombia, but you see this growth of supermarkets. Food service business is increasing tremendously on the higher end. The top 7 to 10% of the Colombian population, that's really our customer, that's our sweet spot right now," Recio says. "So yeah, the scene is changing. Restaurants have opened back up, you know, everything is where we were pre-COVID. And beyond that now to a bit, heir currency is relatively strong against the dollar. So yeah, things are good."

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