US takes first step to open its market to Argentina, Brazil beef imports

Argentina is greeting news that it will soon be able to export fresh beef into the United States after a longtime ban.

Argentine Foreign Minister said Hector Timerman Tuesday that Mexico and Canada will also reopen their markets.

The US has banned imports of Argentine beef since 2001 to avoid a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak from Argentina's cattle herd.

Timmerman says the ban was due to "poor handling of the foot and mouth disease by the government in 2001." He says that Argentina has been free of the disease since 2007, but the markets remained closed due to lobbying by U.S. companies.

The U.S. announced Monday that it would allow imports of fresh beef from Argentina and 14 states in Brazil.