The European Union has moved to lift a ban on beef from four provinces in northern Argentina, the South American nation's animal and food inspection agency, Senasa, reported Wednesday, according to Dow Jones newswires.

In October 2003, the EU banned beef from the provinces of Chaco, Formosa, Jujuy and Salta after foot-and-mouth disease was found among a group of hogs in Salta. On Wednesday, a European agricultural committee voted to overturn the ban, effective almost immediately.

Though the EU will allow imports from these provinces, it will keep a ban on beef from an area located within 25 kilometers of the Bolivian and Paraguayan borders. Foot-and-mouth disease has been discovered in both countries, but it is unclear if animals in either are subject to the same vaccination policies as is Argentine livestock.

In the January-November period, Argentina shipped 27,220 metric tons of beef - worth almost $194 million - to the EU under the Hilton Import quota program.