Colombia Receives Approval to Export Beef to China

The Colombian government this weekend announced that China has approved a required health protocol for beef producers to begin exporting their products to economic giant, thereby “opening the doors of a market of more than 1.4 billion inhabitants,” according to the Andean nation’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The health protocol was required by Beijing regulators so that Colombia “regain the status” of a country free of foot-and-mouth disease across a vaccinated cattle population.

While the approval represents a major step in this process, in practical terms, remains unclear exactly when companies will be permitted. The Ministry of Agriculture said the news “will accelerate the process of admissibility of Colombian beef to China.”

A statement released today by Minerva S.A., a company that maintains a major presence in the South American beef market, suggests that it expects to be able to start making shipments soon. This latest development leaves “only the bureaucratic procedures to effectively enable Colombian production units and final authorization to begin exports,” stated Minerva.

Minerva S.A. has two production plants in Colombia in Bucaramanga and Ciénaga de Oro. Once the approval is final, it says that these locations “will join Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, maximizing the exposure and our arbitration capacity for the Chinese market.”

It noted that, according to Minerva, China “was responsible for importing” some 3,502 thousand tons of beef in 2022.

In its statement, the Ministry of Agriculture characterized this as a “great achievement” by Minister of Agriculture Jhenifer Mojica, who has been on a diplomatic visit to China, a nation it notes is the world’s leading importer of frozen beef and on track to hit an average meat consumption of 10 kilograms per person by 2030.

The ministry added that Chinese officials have also agreed to a technical visit that will work toward the admissibility of other agricultural products from Colombian companies, such as meat pork and Tahiti lemon.