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Mexican Government to Release Ruling On NAFTA Compliance

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has reported that the Mexican government will reportedly publish a 95-page ruling this week, explaining how it intends to comply with a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel report issued in March. NAFTA’s report details its decision in Mexico’s antidumping case against the United States, in which Mexico accused the United States of "dumping" beef products in the country at below home-market prices, allegedly injuring Mexico’s producers.

According to USMEF, Mexico imposed antidumping duties on U.S. beef in April 2000 and amended its antidumping and countervailing duty laws in December 2002. The U.S. beef industry then challenged Mexico’s antidumping measure on beef under Chapter Nineteen of NAFTA. The NAFTA case addressed whether the Mexican determination is consistent with the legal requirements of Mexico’s antidumping law.

While Mexico remained the leading export destination for U.S. beef during the first eight months of 2004, exports to the country decreased since Mexico imports only boneless beef from animals less than 30 months of age and produced under an approved Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Beef Export Verification (BEV) program.

The USMEF concludes that this week’s ruling from Mexico will have little tangible effect on U.S. beef exports to the country. Although details are unconfirmed, sources tell USMEF the ruling will:

• eliminate duties on exports of U.S. beef carcasses (In 2003 the United States exported only 1,899 metric tons of beef carcasses to Mexico);

• remove the requirement that U.S. beef can only be exported to Mexico within 30 days of harvest;

• allow U.S. beef companies to resume exporting ungraded beef to Mexico, although they will have to pay the duties previously assigned to them by the Mexican government;

• recognize name changes of several U.S. companies, allowing them to export to Mexico under their new names and pay the duties previously assigned by the Mexican government instead of the $0.63 per kilogram assigned to all U.S. companies which didn’t receive specific duty rates; and

• confirm the imposition of antidumping duties on both bone-in and boneless products.

USMEF officials expect the ruling to be enforced after being published in the Mexican government’s Diario Oficial, probably sometime this week.

For more information visit www.usmef.org.

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