Progress made in fully opening Mexican market to U.S. beef |

Progress made in fully opening Mexican market to U.S. beef

Mexico recently removed a couple of U.S. beef variety meats from its list of banned products, and that signaled progress in efforts by the U.S. to fully open that market, according to Chad Russell, regional director for the U.S. Meat Export Federation. He recently told a group of U.S. beef producers and exporters that Mexico recently removed beef feet and sweetbreads from a list of U.S. beef products the country banned following the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in 2003. But that list still includes ground beef, for example.

Also, Mexico also continues to ban U.S. beef from cattle older than 30 months

“The risk assessment that was done by the Mexican government … [concluded] that Mexico’s already moved further than they should have, but they provided no scientific justifications for those results,” Russell said. “The good news is that USDA [has] this as one of [its] top priorities in the bilateral agricultural relationship with Mexico. There is a framework in place; the USDA continues to engage on these topics. There has been … a little bit of forward progress … so we’ll have to wait and see.”

Despite these obstacles, Mexico remains perennially the largest-volume buyer of U.S. beef. With two months of results from 2011 still to be posted, beef exports to Mexico (including variety meat) reached nearly 470 million pounds ($818.2 million). This is a 6 percent increase in volume and a 25 percent jump in value over the first 10 months of 2010.