While Argentine beef is world famous, in the last decade or so government policies instituted by the successive Kirchner administrations— such as quotas on exports and other trade obstacles—have led to a drop-off in beef exports. In 2005, for example, Argentina exported 774,000 tons of beef, making it the third largest exporter in the world. However, in 2015, the country fell to 17th place, exporting less than 200,000 tons.
Upon taking office in December 2015, President Mauricio Macri quickly began to open up the Argentine market and remove restrictive trade regulations. Almost immediately, beef exports began to grow. In 2016, they ascended to 230,000 tons—rising to 11th in the world from 17th in just one year— and then to 10th place in 2017, with 312,000 tons.
This year, according to a report made by specialists Fernando Canosa and Víctor Tonelli, Argentina is set to become the world’s seventh largest beef exporter, with an estimated 435,000 tons of beef to be exported by the end of 2018.
In La Plata alone, meat exports accounted for AR $1.2 billion of Argentina’s 2017 GDP, and could be as high as AR $2 billion by the end of this year.
With 435,000 tons of exported beef, Argentina will surpass both Uruguay and Paraguay—which it hasn’t done for years— expected to export 420,00 and 400,000 tons respectively.
However, Argentina’s beef exports still trail far behind that of neighboring Brazil, which last year exported 1.86 million tons, a number which is expected to rise to 20.02 million by the end of the year.