November 14, 2023


US cattle beef organisation opposes USDA's allowance of beef imports from Paraguay




The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) in the United States has expressed strong opposition against the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) decision to allow Paraguayan beef imports starting next month.


NCBA has repeatedly raised concerns with USDA over Paraguay's history of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and the outdated information used to justify Paraguay's access to the US market, the association said.


“USDA based their decision to allow beef imports from Paraguay on a deeply flawed risk assessment that uses old data from site visits that were conducted more than nine years ago," said NCBA executive director of government affairs Kent Bacus. “Paraguay has a history of FMD outbreaks, and it is unclear if their inspection system can provide an equivalent level of safety for animal health to prevent a possible FMD outbreak on US soil.


"Paraguay heavily relies on private sector funding for most of its FMD mitigation measures, and USDA did not consider the risk associated with Paraguay's economic downturn over the last several years.


"Gaining beef access to the US market has been the top priority for Paraguay in multiple rounds of trade discussions. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that a foreign country's beef access to the United States was a pre-determined outcome and used as a bargaining tool for other US interests. The dismissal of legitimate concerns from US cattle producers is unacceptable and USDA should halt this unscientific, unsafe rulemaking. While winning friends and allies in South America may be part of the long-term interests of US diplomacy, it should not be done on the backs of US cattle producers or by putting at risk the health and livelihood of the safest and most efficient cattle and beef production system in the world."



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