As part of its ongoing effort to attract more meat suppliers to the Mexican market, the Government of Mexico is now allowing some imports of Brazilian pork. Erin Borror, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) vice president of economic analysis, explained that all Brazilian products must come from the state of Santa Catarina, which is free of foot and mouth disease (FMD) and does not vaccinate for FMD.
“We’ve been waiting and anticipating when Mexico might allow pork from Brazil,” Borror said. “They’ve allowed Brazilian poultry for a few years now, and this past week announced that they have approved a handful of Brazilian pork plants, I think there’s eight establishments, and pork specifically from the state of Santa Catarina, that is Brazil’s state that’s free of foot and mouth disease and also does not vaccinate for FMD. So, it must be born, raised, slaughtered in the state and from the specific approved plants. The other major requirement is that pork must go into further processing in Mexico on arrival.”
Most exports of U.S. pork to Mexico are chilled rather than frozen, so Borror said she does not expect entry of Brazilian pork to have a significant impact on Mexico’s chilled imports. However, Brazil will have some opportunity to capture market share in the frozen pork category.
“For the U.S., we obviously have tremendous advantages given our proximity and long history in the market- specifically our ability to ship fresh, chilled, bone-in hams and shoulders into Mexico and largely into the Mexican processing industry,” Borror said. “We hold about 86% share of the chilled product going to Mexico, and Canada is the remainder. I don’t think Brazil will challenge us in that chilled category. Where it might get interesting is on the frozen side. We do export some frozen pork to Mexico. U.S. pork accounted for 60% of frozen going to Mexico. When Mexico eliminated the import duties back in May, Europe did gain some momentum, mostly Spanish, bellies. Brazil, like Europe, right now benefits from the temporary zero tariff rate and so we can imagine some opportunities for Brazil to do some business in that frozen category.”
For more information, visit usmef.org.