Rabbinical reinforcements arrive in Argentina to step up kosher meat exports

FILE PHOTO: Argentina's Foreign Minister Felipe Sola looks on during a news conference after a meeting with Brazil's Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo (not pictured) at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, February 12, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina is ready to step up exports of kosher beef following the arrival of 98 rabbis flown into the country from Israel after the government waived travel restrictions aimed at slowing the coronavirus pandemic.

Most of the rabbis arrived this week on a chartered flight from Tel Aviv, Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The rabbis were needed to maintain beef exports to key buyer Israel, which has become increasingly important as exports to the European Union and China are hit by the global health crisis.

“The first thing you have to understand is the importance of exports,” Foreign Minister Felipe Sola said in the statement. “We celebrate having been able to accelerate the arrival of the rabbis to certify beef.”

Argentina is the world’s fifth largest beef exporter and Israel is the No. 3 buyer of its famously succulent cuts.

Argentina will ship 24,000 tonnes of beef to Israel in 2020, for a value of about $170 million.

Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Daniel Wallis