Uruguay may replace NZ in live exports to China


New Zealand decided last month to end live cattle exports due to animal welfare concerns.

Posted on May 17 ,06:38

Uruguay may replace NZ in live exports to China

The decision to stop live cattle exports announced by New Zealand's government may benefit other countries such as Uruguay. The South American country may take of the NZ's market share in the Chinese market, according to a Bloomberg interview with Agriculture Minister Carlos Maria Uriarte. "Even though we are much further away, which makes us less competitive, the export of live cattle to China, in particular, grew a lot in the last year. We are going to have new opportunities," he said.
Turkey, Iraq and Egypt have been the main markets for Uruguayan cattle in the last 5 years. In 2018, exports have peaked at $271 million but since then have dropped by 50%. However, 2019 marked an increase in beef exports so many farmers prefer to sell their cattle directly to meatpackers in the country. Currently, Uruguay has entered the Saudi Arabia beef and lamb market and is one of the main suppliers of beef to China, up 47% in the volumes shipped in Q1 to this market.
Data compiled by the Uruguayan government show that beef exports rose 28% from a year ago to $618 million in the four months through April, with China buying $341 million. However, China is also a large importer of cattle as the country looks to reach a high level of self sufficiency in beef.

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