Argentina is known for its quality beef — among the best in the world, if not the best — and trade deals are now allowing Chinese consumers to enjoy a higher grade of exports.

This comes in addition to optimism in the sector, after the South American trade bloc Mercosur and the European Union reached a free-trade agreement, reported.

Prime cuts of Argentine beef are processed by workers who cut, prepare and package meat for export markets like the European Union and Russia, and increasingly, Asia.

Gorina, is one of the largest beef exporters in Argentina and a family business run by Carlos Riusech.

Riusech said different markets demand different cuts, but that over 60% of Argentina’s beef exports go to China.

“There is a great challenge and opportunity for Argentina. When you look at the type of markets, the highest value is in the European market, the volume is in China,” said Riusech.

Recent agreements with China allow Argentina to diversify and export higher-value cuts of beef. The first shipments were made in June, and in addition to news of the agreement to export pork to China, Argentina’s meat export sector is celebrating some much-needed good news.

While Argentina’s economy is in recession, official figures showed that it posted the first growth in economic activity in May since last April. That turnaround is largely down to growth in the agricultural sector, the CGTN report said.

The Argentina Beef Promotion Institute promotes its produce in China, and hopes the two countries can build on the recent agreement to expand exports.

“The next step would be to work towards a free trade agreement with China, like Australia, which is a country we look to as a model,” said Jorge Torelli, vice president of the institute.

“It is not easy. We have just reached an agreement with the European Union and (it) will take time to implement. With China, the negotiations would take time, too. Hopefully, not 20 years like it took with the EU but it will be long,” said Torelli.