Argentina’s beef export ban

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

In mid-May, Argentina’s president imposed a 30-day ban on beef exports from the country, intended to manage domestic supply availability and price inflation. The industry reacted strongly and immediately threatened to suspend livestock trading. Reports indicate that by Monday 31 May officials had temporarily shut down 12 beef exporters over "irregular" operations and had seized over 220 tonnes of meat.

According USDA data, Argentina produces just over three million tonnes (cwe) of beef annually and in recent years has been exporting around a quarter of this. Argentina is the world’s fifth largest exporter of beef. Markets that would likely be affected by the export ban would be those with the largest share of Argentinian exports. By far the largest market is China (76%), but Chile (5%) Israel (5%) and Germany (4%) also receive notable volumes. Argentina is the second biggest beef supplier to China, accounting for 23% of imported beef volumes.

According to Argentina’s National Institute of Statistics & Census, the UK ranks 15th on the list of recipients of Argentinian beef. The UK imported 545 tonnes in 2019, and due to the pandemic closing many restaurants, only 171 tonnes in 2020. In the year to date, the UK has imported little or no Argentinian beef.

Beef that the UK does import from Argentina can come in under the High Quality Beef quota originally negotiated with the EU. Only 111t of Argentina’s annual quota (29,500t) remained with the UK on exiting the EU.


Sign up for regular updates

You can subscribe to receive Beef and Lamb market news straight to your inbox. Simply fill in your contact details on our online form.

Visit the Keep in touch page

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved.