On May 16, the Annual Assembly of the Chilean Meat Exporters Association, ChileCarne, was held at Viña San Pedro in the O’Higgins region. In addition to the member companies, this year the Assembly was attended by the General Director of ProChile, Ignacio Fernández.

Pork and poultry are Chile’s fourth-largest food exporting sector after salmon, fresh fruit, and wine, representing 87% of the total meat exported by Chile.

The meeting reviewed the main actions carried out by the association in 2023, as well as the challenges and opportunities for the industry in the coming years. Of note was the work done to keep Chile free of diseases that could impact production and trade, enhance biosecurity measures, and better navigate the uncertain global scenario and open new markets. “Strengthening market access is crucial to maintaining the sector’s competitiveness. Chile’s ratification of the free trade agreement with the European Union, resuming poultry exports to China, and obtaining authorization for pork and poultry exports to Vietnam are the sector’s top priorities,” said Juan Carlos Domínguez, executive president of ChileCarne.

In 2023, pork, chicken, and turkey exports amounted to $1.1 billion USD, equivalent to 424,000 tons, and represented 87% of the meat exported from Chile that year. The main destination markets for pork are Japan, South Korea, and China, while for poultry, they are the United States and Mexico.

ProChile’s director, Ignacio Fernández, highlighted the coordinated public-private work through the ChilePork sector brand, which has helped position Chilean pork in Japan, South Korea, China, and the Philippines. “The food sector is Chile’s second-largest export sector. In 2023, food exports from the agricultural sector surpassed $21 billion USD,” he said. Fernández also emphasized, “We cover niche markets with these products, meaning our products are very high quality, traceable, and produced following top-tier standards, all of which has been internationally recognized.”

Opinion of producing and exporting companies

After the presentations, member companies representatives thanked ProChile and ChileCarne officials and shared their views on the topics discussed. Álvaro Ortiz, Agrosuper’s Industrial Manager, noted: “Market openings pose challenges that drive the industry forward. There are also regulatory challenges that we must address over time, and above all, how to strengthen our export potential and the country’s ability to secure various agreements.”

Jaime Bascuñán, AASA’s General Manager, added: “We have made significant progress as an industry, but until we have the protections that land-use planning will provide, it will be difficult to make full progress. Chile has natural barriers and meets all the requirements of the main global markets. We also have the support of key institutions such as the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) and ProChile, and we are regarded as a serious country. We need to move forward with these regulatory issues to continue growing.”

Coexca’s General Manager, Guillermo García, pointed out that: “One of Coexca’s main challenges is obtaining authorization for our processing plants to enter the Philippine market, which we hope to achieve this year. We must also keep all other markets active while addressing key issues concerning sustainability and company relationships with their regions and communities.”

Pablo Espinosa, Maxagro’s General Manager, concluded: “We believe that we have many challenges ahead, especially in Asian countries like Vietnam and India, which have shifting consumption patterns. We hope that, as an industry, we can continue with Chile Conscious Origin, a fundamental platform that covers everything from labor to environmental aspects. We are hopeful that this certification will move forward.” The Chile Conscious Origin Program is an initiative developed in recent years, led by the Office of Agricultural Research and Policy (ODEPA) of the Ministry of Agriculture, to promote best practices in the Chilean agri-food sector.

During the assembly, members were also informed about the 2023 balance and the 2024 budget.