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. U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng offers his observations on this audio report.
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 – 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.