June 1, 2023
US beef producers oppose USDA proposal to allow Paraguayan imports
A proposal by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to permit beef imports from Paraguay into the US market is facing strong opposition from American producer groups, Agri-Pulse reported.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently concluded a comment period on the proposed rule, which outlines the conditions for allowing Paraguayan fresh beef imports, including the requirement that the product must not come from a region where foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has been detected in the past 12 months.
Justin Tupper, representing the US Cattlemen's Association, expressed concerns about the USDA's underlying information, which is based on visits conducted in 2014.
Tupper pointed out the nearly 10-year gap since the last site visit and questioned the confidence it inspires in Paraguay's regulatory approach. The possibility of an FMD outbreak, coupled with APHIS's acknowledgment that Paraguay is not free of the disease, raises serious concerns about the safety of the US cattle herd if the proposal moves forward.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) also raised concerns about the outdated information and the presence of FMD in Paraguay. While the NCBA supports expanding international markets for US beef, the organization said there is a need for caution in trade and diplomatic relations.
The NCBA's trade lobbyist, Kent Bacus, said that while building alliances in South America may be a long-term interest of US diplomacy, it should not come at the expense of US cattle producers or jeopardize the health and livelihood of the world's safest and most efficient cattle and beef production system.