Macao and Qatar; New Markets for Colombian Beef and Pork Meat

Frozen Pork Ham & Shoulder
Fresh Whole Beef
Published Mar 11, 2021
As a result of the sanitary work carried out by the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Invima, the admissibility of beef, pork, and by-products destined for human consumption into Macao and Qatar was achieved. Qatar and Macao-China have both given green lights to import meat produced in Colombia.

The opening of these new Colombian beef and pork markets was achieved thanks to high-quality phytosanitary standards established by the National Institute of Food and Medicines of Colombia (Invima). After sanitary authorities from both countries verified the national meat quality and conditions in Colombia, a certification agreement that endorses Colombian products was reached.

Macao´s Frozen Beef and Pork Market

Invima announced that the Food Inspection Division of the Food Security Department of the Institute of Municipal Affairs of Macao had given the green light to the import of frozen beef and pork, with and without bone, from Colombia. These products can only be exported to Macao and not to the rest of China since, being a separate region, it has independent regulations.

The Macao frozen beef import market had a USD 31 million value in 2020, a 16.2% decrease from 2019 due to the pandemic. Still, it is expected to recover in 2021 as consumption of meat in Asia is lifting. Macao´s leading supplier of frozen beef is Brazil, with an import value of USD 14.7 million in 2020 with a 39% share. The U.S. follows Brazil as the second-largest supplier with a USD 14 million value that represents 37.7%, making both countries the leading beef suppliers for Macao. The rest of the countries that complete the share are; Japan (9.3%), Canada (7.6%), and Mexico (2.7%).

As for the frozen pork meat, Macao´s import market was at a value of USD 36.2 million in 2020, having a smaller decrease of 9% from 2019 than beef meat. Brazil also leads as the main supplier of frozen pork meat to Macao with a USD 22.5 million import value accounting for 57% of the share. Poland followed Brazil with a USD 4.5 million imported value of frozen pork in 2020. The market share then is divided within several countries such as; the Netherlands (7.2%), China (6.6.%), and Spain (3.5%).

In 2017, Macao and Hong Kong banned Brazil´s meat after allegations that companies have been selling unsafe produce for years, which caused imported meat in Macao to decrease that year to USD 19.8 million.

Source: Tridge, COMTRADE

Qatar Fresh and Frozen Beef Market is Promising

The Ministry of Public Health of Qatar announced that Colombia would be able to export bovine meat to Qatar after the approval of the quality standards and requirements that were made. Similarly, the meat must have a Halal certificate, a document issued by the Muslim authority, which certifies compliance with the conditions required by Islamic law for the consumption of agri-food products.

The process to open the Middle Eastern market for Colombia started in 2018, as Qatar became a growing consumer market of fresh and frozen bovine meat. For fresh beef, Qatar imported a total of USD 53 million in 2020. Fresh beef is traditionally imported from nearby countries such as Australia, Qatar´s leading supplier of fresh beef with USD 19 million imported, covering 36% of Qatar’s share imports. Pakistan and New Zealand follow the list of suppliers with 14% and 9.7% accordingly.

It is important for Colombia to notice that Brazil and Argentina, which are both meat producers from Latin America, have had a significant increase in their exports to Qatar´s market over the last years, as Brazil reached USD 4 million in fresh beef sales to Qatar in 2020 and Argentina had USD 1.7 million—showing that Qatar is a market that can source high premium quality beef even with high logistics costs.

Qatar also has a significant increasing market for frozen bovine meat, in which other Latin American countries had taken a substantial share for the last three years. Brazil has become an essential player for the Middle Eastern frozen market by exporting USD 8.5 million in 2020, becoming the third-largest supplier with 18.7% of the share, following India with 28% and the U.S. with 23%. Another country that had taken advantage of the Qatar beef market was Paraguay, which started exporting frozen beef to Qatar in 2017 with USD 154 thousand and reaching USD 783 thousand by 2019.

Source: Tridge, COMTRADE

New Export Opportunities for Colombian Meat

The opening of these two important markets represents Colombia’s excellent opportunity to keep increasing its exports of meat. According to the Colombian Public Statistics Department (DANE), the overall Colombian meat exports in 2020 doubled the exports in 2019, USD 132 million, and rose to USD 267 million. To reach this number, Colombia exported USD 123 million of meat and offal and 143 million on live animals.

Macao and Qatar markets will continue to favor the fresh and frozen beef and pork segments that have been a critical driving sector for Colombia´s meat industry. With these new markets, Colombia will have 67 open markets for their meat exports, controlled and regulated by Invima.

For the frozen beef market, Colombia already has a USD 43.6 million exported value, in which Russia is its leading buyer with USD 20.5 million in 2019, followed by Egypt and Vietnam. As for the fresh beef exports, the country sold USD 20 million in 2019, with Jordan and Lebanon as their main buyers.

Companies and distributors in Colombia interested in exporting bovine and pork products to these new countries will have to issue a phytosanitary certificate through the Food and Beverage division of the Invima, who will coordinate the established requirements with the national authorities of both countries.


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