Argentina delays China pork export deal amid environmental protests

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BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina has delayed until November the signing of a memorandum of understanding with China aimed at increasing investment in Argentine hog output, a government source said on Tuesday, citing environmental protests over the planned export deal.

Argentina first sought to sign the preliminary agreement in August, which aims to double the South American country’s pork output – currently 630,000 tonnes per year – in four years.

The announced intention by Argentina to sign the deal, designed to spur exports to meat-hungry China, drew criticism from Argentine environmentalists concerned about the impact that such a rapid increase in pork production would have.

“Given the complaints, we decided to take time to amend the memorandum of understanding, which in a way is redundant because when you invest in Argentina you have to abide by local laws,” a source at the foreign ministry told Reuters, asking not to be named because the reason for delay had not yet been made public.

The current draft of the memorandum, with stricter environmental guidelines, is being sent to China for review, the source said.

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