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US to sell pork to Argentina for first time since 1992
[WASHINGTON] The White House announced an agreement with Argentina on Thursday that will allow American farmers to export pork to the South American nation for the first time in 25 years.
The agreement to open the market potentially worth US$10 million a year came after US Vice-President Mike Pence met this week with Argentina's president Mauricio Macri.
Mr Pence called the agreement "a big win for American pork producers" and said it shows the administration's commitment "to breaking down international trade barriers and making free and fair trade a win-win for American workers, farmers, and our trading partners".
The country known for its massive beef industry blocked imports of US pork in 1992, demanding tests for trichinosis, which Washington said were unnecessary.
During 2008-2012, 15 cases of the disease were reported in humans in the United States on average each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, but were "more often associated with eating raw or undercooked wild game meats". The White House said Argentine food safety officials will visit the United States "to conduct on-site verification of the United States meat inspection system, after which US pork exports will resume pending resolution of any outstanding technical issues".
The administration will continue to work to expand exports of other agricultural products to Argentina, notably beef, poultry and fruits which also have been banned due to health concerns.
The administration also announced a deal with Colombia to expand rice exports by easing some of the health requirements.
"This agreement expands opportunities for US rice producers in the important Colombian market," US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement.
"It also underscores the value of improved relationships to solve problems." The agreement lifts the "strict and costly" health restrictions Colombia imposed in 2012 on exports of "paddy rice", which has the hulls still on, allowing the grain to be stored longer. It also expands access to more than one port.
The US exported US$15 million of paddy rice last year, as well as an average of US$79 million of milled rice.