Namibia Secures USDA Approval to Export Beef to the U.S.A.

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WASHINGTON, 13 July 2016  -  Namibia has secured U.S. Department of Agriculture approval to export beef and beef products to the United States. This makes Namibia the first African country to gain USDA approval to export meat to the United States.

In a historic announcement, the Food Safety and Inspection Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said it is “amending the Federal meat inspection regulations to add Namibia to the list of countries eligible to export meat and meat products to the United States.”

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.

FSIS reviewed Namibia's laws, regulations, and inspection systems and it determined that they are equivalent to the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), the regulations implementing this statute, and the United States food safety system for meat and meat products.

Under this final rule, Namibia will be able to export raw beef products such as primal cuts, chuck, blade, and beef trimmings that are processed in FSIS certified Namibian establishments.
All products that Namibia exports to the United States will be subject to reinspection at United States ports of entry by FSIS inspectors.

Namibia is a stable multi-party democracy that enjoys a high level of political, economic and social stability. It is classified as an Upper Middle Income Country by the World Bank, and it was recently ranked the top emerging market economy in Africa by Bloomberg Markets.

Namibia’s Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Martin Andjaba said, “The USDA approval of Namibian beef exports to the United States is yet another milestone in the exceptionally strong bilateral relationship between Namibia and the United States. This ruling paves the way for more trade, investment, job creation and food security in both Namibia and the United States.”

The Republic of Namibia is already a major exporter of beef into Europe, China and South Africa. Namibia exports over 17,000 metric tonnes of meat products to South Africa per annum, about 10,000 metric tonnes to the European Union (EU), and about 2,000 metric tonnes to Norwegian markets

The country is a signatory to the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a preferential trade agreement between the United States and about 41 African nations. AGOA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on May 18, 2000 and it has produced U.S. trade with Africa in excess of $150 billion per annum at its peak before the stock market crash of 2008.

Under AGOA, Namibia has duty and quota free access to the lucrative U.S. market.  With the strong U.S. dollar exchange rate against the Namibia dollar, American retailers will access Namibian beef at highly competitive prices.

The beef that Namibia will export to the Unites States is organic, grass fed beef whose demand is on the rise in the United States as consumers seek healthier, non-GMO foods. In a recent visit to the United States, Namibia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila visited logistics and cold storage facilities at the Port of Philadelphia to explore options for Namibian exports entering the United States. The Prime Minister met with U.S. business leaders during the port visit and a dinner banquet which were hosted by the Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce in Philadelphia.

During the visit, the Prime Minister said, “The Agricultural sector is important to the country’s economy with a thriving red meat industry. The country also has rich fishing grounds with its stock of both demersal and pelagic species, which has laid the foundation for manufacturing and value addition of processed fish [and beef] products.”

“The USDA approval of Namibian beef for export into the United States is a groundbreaking decision that bolsters confidence in the Namibian economy, the country’s governance and the strength of the relationship between Namibia and the United States” said Mr. Vuyo T. Dunjwa, Executive Chairman of the Board at the Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about this decision, please contact Mr. Freddie U. !Gaoseb, Namibia’s Commercial Counselor in Washington, DC by e-mailing info@namibianembassyusa.org.