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Audio: Seng Hopeful for Return of U.S. Pork, Beef to South Africa
Time:19 Jun 2015
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Trade officials from the United States and South Africa recently announced that they would work to resolve issues currently blocking U.S. pork and beef from the South African market. In the attached audio report, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng offers his observations on this announcement.

Access for U.S. pork was severely limited for many years due to restrictions related to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and trichinae, and the market closed completely to U.S. pork two years ago. Last year, South Africa imported nearly 25,000 metric tons (mt) of pork, with the European Union being the primary supplier. South Africa also imports pork from Canada and recently resumed imports from Brazil.

South Africa never reopened to U.S. beef after closing in response to the December 2003 BSE case. Australia is the largest supplier of beef to South Africa, totaling 19,402 mt in 2014 ¨C an increase of 36 percent over the previous year. Namibia and Botswana are the second and third-largest suppliers, followed by New Zealand.

Seng notes that USMEF recently began examining opportunities for U.S. beef and pork in several emerging markets in western and central Africa, and regaining access to South Africa could also help advance this effort.


Joe Schuele:In this U.S. Meat Export Federation report, we examine the possible resumption of U.S. beef and pork exports to South Africa. The U.S. and South African governments recently announced that they would work to resolve pork access issues related to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and trichinae. U.S. beef has lacked access to South Africa since the 2003 BSE case. USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng has more details.

Philip Seng:That agreement that was reached is very important from the standpoint of beef and pork. Heretofore we really had a hard time engaging South Africa, but we?ˉre very, very pleased our government has initiated these talks. We?ˉre going to finally have some resolution to the PRRS and trichinae issues is really going to be very important to us. On the beef side, you their market closed as a result of BSE. It?ˉs one of the last markets to address this, and so there?ˉs opportunity, especially with Australia being the largest supplier of beef to South Africa. With the paucity of cattle they have in Australia, this is an excellent opportunity for us to possibly move into a spot where we have always been quite active.

Joe Schuele:Seng says if the U.S. industry can regain access to South Africa, it will not only deliver benefits from that market but also expand the presence of U.S. beef and pork in other markets in west and central Africa.

Joe Schuele:When you go to South Africa and you look at the retail and you look at the food service industry there it?ˉs pretty sophisticated compared to some of the other areas that we?ˉre looking at in West Africa. South Africa does kind of set the standard for Africa, and I think Africans look at South Africa as the model. So I think the more we can do in South Africa, not only will we reap as far as benefits dealing directory with South Africa, but because it is a leader, we can bring teams from other parts of Africa to South Africa to take a look at some of the things that are going on. We see South Africa as being very important to us. It?ˉs kind of like the role Japan used to play in Asia years ago. It?ˉs just very helpful to have a beachhead, if you will, for our product. And South Africa would be an excellent place for us to do that.

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