To fight inflation, Uruguay greenlights Brazilian bone-in meat imports

meat imports uruguay
Uruguay’s staple asado de tira. Photo: Lipe Borges/Shutterstock

Uruguay’s Livestock, Agriculture, and Fisheries Minister Fernando Mattos recently announced that Montevideo has authorized the import of Brazilian in-bone meat in order to have beef cuts “with more quality, but more accessible to the Uruguayan consumer.” 

The decision was taken as Uruguay — one of the countries with the highest yearly per capita meat consumption rates in the world — deals with a hike in meat prices in 2022. The rising costs are heavily associated with the economic effects of the war in Ukraine.

In March this year, the inflation rate of some beef cuts reached 17 percent, close to a 10-year record. In April, President Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou sent Congress a bill to suspend VAT taxes on the famous asado de tira, one of Uruguayans’ most consumed cuts.

Now, the renowned meat producer is turning to Brazil for new alternatives. Mr. Mattos said that the imported meat will come from the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Mato Grosso, and Rondônia, all regions that have “foot-and-mouth disease-free sanitary status without vaccination.” 

According to him, these large Brazilian zones have “better sanitary conditions” than Uruguay. 

“The benefit is to have a quality product with good sanitary conditions that is cheaper for the population,” he said, recognizing that meat is one of the most important items on Uruguayan tables. The recently-announced resolution does not establish tariffs or import restriction quotas.