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U.S. receives increased meat access to South Africa

Exports could be worth up to $75 million per year

By Diego Flammini,

After years of blocking red meat imports from the United States, including a 15- year block on poultry imports, South Africa has decided to lift some of the roadblocks and allow American poultry and red meat back into the country.

South Africa has refused American beef imports since 2003 after the U.S. was battling mad cow disease. Pork imports were stopped in 2013 due to other health concerns and chicken imports stopped nearly 15 years ago to protect against avian flu and salmonella.

With the renewed trade opportunities estimated to be worth $75 million annually, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the opportunities with South Africa will have a domino effect on various industries.

"This is good news for American farmers, ranchers and poultry, pork and beef companies,” he said. “We welcome this move by South Africa and will continue our efforts to break down barriers and expand access for high-quality, safe and wholesome U.S. food and agricultural products around the world. With this agreement, South Africa reaffirms the scientific soundness and integrity of the U.S. system for ensuring animal health and food safety, and this will result in high-quality U.S. meat and poultry being available for South African consumers.”

According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative:

  • Trade between the United States and South Africa totaled $21 billion in 2012
  • Agricultural exports to South Africa was worth $295 million in 2013. Leading agricultural products were dairy ($28 million), wheat ($25 million), planting seeds ($24 million) and poultry meat ($24 million)
  • Agricultural imports from South Africa totaled $253 million in 2013. Leading items included wine and beer ($69 million), fresh fruit ($59 million) and tree nuts ($42 million)

Give us your thoughts on the expanded access for American beef, pork and poultry products in South Africa. As a producer are you encouraged by the news?

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