Pork producers in Canada have welcomed restored access to the Argentinian market, which they say could lead to CAD16m (US$12m) worth of exports of Canadian cuts to the country annually.

The re-opening of Argentina’s market to Canadian pork producers as of August 2017, after a break of 14 years, was announced following talks between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Argentina’s President, Mauricio Macri, in Buenos Aires. 

The leaders agreed to allow the export of pork meat and live swine to Argentina on 17 November. The Canadian Meat Council said: “The final step remaining in the process will be a visit to Canada by Argentinian food safety officials who will conduct an audit of Canada’s meat inspection system.”

A spokesperson for the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) told just-food Canadian pork had never been banned by Argentina, but access to the market had been “restricted due to a number trade irritants at the time”.

The spokesperson said Canada Pork International (CPI), which represents the country’s major pork exporting companies, “identified Argentina‎ as a potential market for Canadian pork and was successful in securing short-term access several years ago to test the market”. “CPI has been the strong drivers behind the scenes working to access the market and we are pleased their leadership has resulted in the restored access,” the spokesperson added.

CPC chair Rick Bergmann said: “This restored access provides important opportunities for the Canadian pork industry and given that we export well over two-thirds of our production, improving market access enables us to achieve the best overall return for our producers.”

According to the CPC, Argentina is “one of the highest per capita consumers of animal protein in the world”, with 115 kilograms eaten per capita  “Restablishing access would help to secure the Canadian pork industry position in the region as a top supplier.” 

The CPC said Canada is the world’s third-largest pork exporter and represents 20% of world pork trade. In 2015, Canadian pork was exported to over 100 countries.