Remarks by Ambassador Lisa Johnson at MeatCo’s Launch of Beef Exportation to the U.S.

Good Morning!  Thank you for inviting me to join you here today.

On behalf of the United States, I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to MeatCo on the dispatch of your first consignment of Namibian beef to the United States.

MeatCo’s high-quality beef product has enabled Namibia to become the first country in Africa eligible to export beef to the United States.  We are excited to celebrate this incredible milestone with you today!

One of my top priorities as U.S. Ambassador is to increase U.S.-Namibia trade and investment in order to create prosperity for both our countries.  And since my arrival in Namibia two years ago, I have had the honor to work closely with MeatCo and the ministries represented here today to help make export of Namibian beef to the United States a reality.

MeatCo has submitted itself to rigorous tests of its beef products and processes in order to gain access to the U.S. market.  As a testament to MeatCo’s excellence as a quality beef producer, I am proud to reconfirm that MeatCo has met all standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service for beef production and processing.

MeatCo will benefit from duty-free export of beef into the United States through the African Growth and Opportunity Act, known as AGOA.

Since 2000, AGOA has served as the cornerstone of U.S. economic engagement with Africa.  AGOA has helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs and economic opportunities across the continent.   Meatco is a trailblazer and is paving the way for more Namibian industries to take advantage of AGOA benefits.  I would like to see as many Namibian companies as possible take MeatCo’s lead and benefit from AGOA.

Today’s event celebrates the beginning of what we hope will be a long and mutually beneficial commercial relationship.  Namibia will benefit economically from tapping into the world’s largest consumer market with a purchasing power of $13 trillion U.S. dollars, and U.S. consumers will benefit from access to Namibia’s high-quality, free-range, grass-fed, and hormone and antibiotic free beef.

I would like to commend the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Forestry; the Ministry of Public Enterprises; and the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade, and SME Development for their leadership and commitment in helping pave the way for today’s success.

I would also like to say welcome and congratulations again to MeatCo’s brand new CEO Mushokabanji Mwilima.  I also want to thank Mr. Angus Claassen and Mr. Jannie Breytenbach for their hard work as MeatCo’s interim CEOs and the entire MeatCo team for their dedication bringing this day to fruition.

As this first shipment of Namibian beef makes its way across the ocean to customers in the United States, it is my hope that this will be a building block of deeper commercial ties between our countries for years to come.

Thank you.