The European Union and Argentina agreed to increase Argentina's lucrative Hilton Quota of high-end beef exports by 1,500 metric tons annually, according to a release in Buenos Aires from the Foreign Ministry late Wednesday.
The increase lifts Argentina’s total high-quality bovine quota to 29,500 tons a year. The higher quota will translate into an additional 25 million US dollars in sales, the ministry said in a statement.
The EU will also give Argentina a one-time, 2,000-ton bonus allowance, on top of the new 1,500-ton increase, to be distributed over the next four years.
In addition, the EU pledged to lift Argentina's frozen and de-boned buffalo meat quota by 200 tons annually.
The Hilton Quota, which runs from July 1 to June 30, allows Argentina to ship high-grade beef to the European Union each year with low import duties. The quota is worth hundreds of million of dollars.
The Hilton Quota is usually a boon to beef exporters who take advantage of the tax exemption to sell top-quality cuts at top prices to Europe. The quota was set in 1997 to compensate Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand for European farm subsidies.
Argentina was until 2008 among the world's top beef exporters but is expected to slip to ninth place this year with just 270,000 tons shipped overseas, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Argentina will also benefit from increases “erga omnes” which means open to all WTO members regarding quotas of soft wheat, common barley, beer barley and corn. This is consequence of a long claim from regarding the incorporation of Bulgaria and Rumania to the European Union, countries with which Argentina had special market concessions in the framework of bilateral agreements from before.
“It was a long arduous negotiation with the EU started in 2007 “and which culminates successfully for the interests of Argentina”, said the Foreign Relations ministry release.