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Mexico Allows U.S. Boneless Beef Imports In First Phase Of Agreement

The United States and Mexico have reached an agreement for a phased resumption of U.S. beef exports. The first stage of this agreement will be a mirror image of the beef trade agreement between Canada and Mexico and will allow exports to Mexico of boneless beef products from animals of less than 30 months of age. The certification language is currently being developed, and these products will be certified jointly by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Agriculture Marketing Service.

While this measure only allows the U.S. to export boneless beef and veal from animals which are less than 30 months of age, USDA has provided assurances that this is only "Phase I" of the program, and that measures for other items such as trimmings and variety meat items for export to Mexico are currently being negotiated.

"The opening of the No. 2 market for U.S. beef is due to hard work by the USDA and our industry partners and a resolve by the Mexican government to rely on science," commented USMEF President & CEO Philip Seng. "The initial agreement allowing boneless beef covers an estimated 75-80 percent of what the U.S. exports to Mexico, and we look forward to future phases of the agreement reopening this important market to U.S. beef variety meat. USMEF and USDA both recognize how important offals and trimming exports to Mexico are to the industry.

"I’m proud of the USMEF Mexico office staff, who provided vital information and support to both sides of the negotiations. USMEF will continue this work until our trade relationship is restored in full.

"We applaud the Mexican government for reopening its market to U.S. beef," said USMEF Vice President, Western Hemisphere Homero Recio. "And we applaud its leadership for making this decision based on sound scientific principles.

"Although all our products are not included in the reopening, we see this as the first step of the complete opening of the Mexican market to all U.S. beef products.

"The agreement has opened the Mexican to boneless beef and veal. Boneless beef products account for the lion’s share (75-80 percent) of U.S. beef exports to Mexico, so we hope for brisk trade soon in these items. Mexico’s inventories of imported and domestic beef are currently low, and U.S. beef will resume its complementary position in the market."

In 2003, the U.S. exported 335,847 metric tons of beef and beef variety meat products to Mexico, valued at $877,039.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs.

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