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Nando Times

U.S. to resume importing Argentine beef

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (December 22, 2000 3:13 p.m. EST - Four months after shipments were stopped because of concerns about a cattle disease, the United States agreed Friday to resume imports of beef from Argentina.

Some 2,000 tons of beef were expected to be shipped by air to the United States next week so that the meat can be counted against this year's import quota.

Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman announced the decision after a meeting with his Argentine counterpart, Antonio Berhongaray.

Argentina, in turn, agreed to step up its imports of U.S. pork, which have been restricted because of Argentine concerns about U.S. hog diseases. The two countries also are discussing an end to prohibitions on U.S. peaches, plums and citrus because of Argentine concerns about fruit flies.

Berhongaray pledged that Argentina would base its import restrictions on scientific evidence.

Argentina, the world's fourth-largest beef exporter, suspended shipments of fresh and frozen beef in August after cattle bred near the Paraguayan border were believed to be infected with hoof-and-mouth disease.

Beef from the border area will continue to be barred from shipment to the United States.

Under trade agreements, Argentina is allowed to export 20,000 tons of beef to the United States each year. About 12,000 tons had been shipped before the suspension in exports. Berhongaray said he expected Argentina to easily reach its quota next year.

Glickman said he assured Argentine officials that his successor as agriculture secretary, Ann Veneman, "would be very, very positive" for trade between the two countries. Veneman, a lawyer with expertise in trade, is a former deputy secretary of agriculture and former director of California's state agriculture department.

-- Rachel Gibson (, December 22, 2000

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