Argentina is on the cusp of securing a two-way trade deal with the United States for fresh beef products, the country's international trade secretary said Monday.
“We are negotiating the reopening to happen over the days ahead,” Secretary Marisa Bircher told news agency Reuters. “All the technical and administrative questions have been settled,” she added.
News of the deal comes just days before US President Donald Trump arrives in Buenos Aires for the G20 leaders summit, which begins Friday.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri celebrated the agreement via Twitter.
"Great news! Argentina is again exporting beef to the United States, after 17 years of absence in that market", he wrote.
Argentina would have a 20,000 tonne limit on exports to the US, Bircher said. There would be no limit on beef imports from the US, which historically have struggled to compete locally with Argentine produce.
The trade deal is valued for Argentina at around US$150-180 million. It would also send a strong signal to other international markets of the quality of Argentine beef, given the strict criteria placed on food imports by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Argentina stopped beef exports to the United States 17 years ago due to concerns about potential foot-and-mouth poisoning, Bircher explained to Reuters.
“We have eliminated that through a vaccine program in our livestock sector,” she said.