Ecuador recently became the latest market to reopen to U.S. beef exports, after being closed for more than 10 years due to BSE. Cheyenne Dixon, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) technical services manager, explains that U.S. beef exports to Ecuador now face very few restrictions, with muscle cuts and offal items from cattle of all ages being eligible. The only significant constraint involves beef derived from cattle imported from Canada, in which case the animal must be in the United States for 60 days prior to slaughter.

In addition to providing high-quality beef cuts for the hotel and restaurant sector, USMEF expects U.S. exporters to find success in Ecuador with variety meat items such as beef tripe, livers and hearts. Introductory seminars are planned in late April for Ecuadorian importers – one in the capital city of Quito and one in Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil (pronounced WHY-UH-KIL).

Ecuador’s reopening adds a fourth destination for U.S. exporters serving South America. Peru took $32.8 million in U.S. beef exports in 2013 and has been a reliable market for several years, especially for beef variety meat items. Chile ($68.6 million in 2013) emerged as a key export market over the past three years following a temporary closure to Paraguayan beef (due to foot-and-mouth disease) and a lack of reliable supplies from Argentina. Following implementation of a new free trade agreement, Colombia burst on the scene last year with U.S. exports nearly tripling to $9.1 million.