Argentina’s Secretary of Agriculture Denies Meat Export Ban Shortly After Announcement

On Tuesday, Argentina announced a 15-day ban on beef exports in an effort to moderate prices amid surging inflation and a steep devaluation of the peso.

In June 2023, the annual inflation rate in Argentina stood at 115.6%, the highest level since 1991. Monthly inflation was 6.3% in July 2023, up 0.3% from the month prior. 

Argentina’s central bank devalued its exchange rate by 18% to 350 per dollar on Monday after outsider candidate Javier Milei won a primary election on August 13. The country’s government is attempting to stop the sharp devaluation from impacting everyday prices for local consumers.

However, shortly after the ban was announced, the Secretary of Agriculture Juan José Bahillo denied the suspension, stating that negotiations are underway with the Ministry of Economy of Argentina.

In a tweet, Bahillo wrote “[o]ur responsibility as public officials is to bring certainty to the productive sectors and tranquility to the people. We are negotiating meat prices for the domestic market and there are no suspensions on meat exports.” 

Argentina is one of the world’s top consumer and exporter of beef and sends most of the beef it produces to China. The Argentinian government has already banned seven popular beef cuts through the end of this year in an effort to reduce prices for its consumers in the domestic market. 

Argentina had implemented temporary beef export bans in the past, also with the intention to increase domestic supply and lower domestic prices. In May 2021, the government of Argentina imposed a 30-day ban on beef exports. Prior to that, former President Néstor Kirchner banned all beef exports for 180 days in 2006 to curb domestic price increases.