Red meat exports to Colombia saw tremendous growth in 2017. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) reports pork exports to Colombia in November were up 65-percent year-over-year, or 63,583 metric tons. Beef exports increased 28-percent year-over-year, or 4,818 metric tons and 15-percent in value, totaling $14.7 million.
A USMEF employee says despite recent growth, red meat exports to Colombia still face significant technical barriers.
Cheyenne McEndaffer, USMEF technical services manager, says Colombia offers full market access for U.S. beef and pork products. However, McEndaffer notes technical issues continue to impede U.S. exports.
“Some examples would be port inspections,” McEndaffer said. “Colombian veterinarian officials are very tough on dust and dirt in containers and on top of boxes, which unfortunately happens during transit. As well as blood or purge coming out of boxes before they’re frozen in the U.S.”
“Labelling discrepancies,” McEndaffer said. “It’s one of the countries that requires Spanish and English labels. We need to make those are accurate. If there are any errors, it gives inspectors a chance to retain or even reject that product.”
McEndaffer, who works closely with U.S. exporters and Colombian importers to ensure products arrive without delays, says USMEF works to better understand and comply with requirements. She also says USMEF works to ensure Colombian officials enforce regulations as written.
McEndaffer says the vast majority of red meat exports to Colombia are frozen, due to obstacles surrounding transportation infrastructure
“The biggest reason for that is logistics,” McEndaffer said. We have three key ports in Colombia, one in the Pacific and two on the Caribbean. Distance wise, they’re not too far from the key city centers, but infrastructure for reefer trucks and highways to move the products is not there. It can take multiple days, maybe even weeks to get from the key port of Buenaventura into Bogota.”