Silver Lining For U.S. Beef In Colombia

Colombia is the only trading partner that imposed restrictions on imports of U.S. beef due to the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) detected in some lactating dairy cows.

Homero Recio, U.S. Meat Export Federation Latin America representative, explains that Colombia will not accept beef from any of the nine states impacted by HPAI. These are in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas.

“It’s unfortunate given that we have a free trade agreement with Colombia, that Colombia would take this action,” Recio says. “However, we do have plants in other states where export certificates are now being granted and import certificates in Colombia are also being granted. So some trade has started back up. Clearly, the supply is going to be more limited, but yet, we still believe there are some really good opportunities even given the situation.”

He adds that despite Colombia’s restrictions, the business climate for U.S. red meat remains favorable, with strong demand from the retail and food service sectors.

“The food service business is increasing tremendously on the higher end. The top 7-10 percent of the Colombian population, that’s our sweet spot right now,” Recio explains. “Restaurants have opened back up. Everything is where we were pre-COVID. Things are good.”