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U.S. beef receives access to Moroccan market

Source: Wikimedia Commons

United States delegates are meeting with Chinese counterparts this week, in an effort to resolve trade tensions. Meanwhile, United States officials reflect on recent progress made on other fronts.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Trade Representative announced Morocco will soon allow imports of United States beef. Monty Brown, U.S. Meat Export Federation representative in Africa, recently met with several companies in Morocco who showed great interest in U.S. beef.

“Initial reaction from the majority of buyers was they were very interested in U.S. beef.  We have a high quality beef quota, where the items have to be prime and choice. This is for 6,600 tons, with zero duty, so quite a lot of scope to get product into the marketplace,” Brown said. “The prime will be going to the high-end hotel and restaurant sector. We will probably be able to do a lot more with the choice grade purely because of the price differential that it will offer.”

The duty-free quotas, featured in the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement, include:

  • USDA Choice or Prime beef cuts – 6, 600 metric tons
  • U.S. beef cuts and beef variety meat – 2,390 metric tons

Brown believes these duty-free quotas offer plenty of capacity for establishing a foothold for U.S beef in the country. Morocco’s standard duty rate for imported beef is 275-percent, making it hard for other nations to import beef and beef products into the country.

“I think Morocco is exciting when it comes to U.S. beef and U.S. beef variety meats,” Brown said. “They are open for all the products and there’s a willingness to make business there. I would like to think in 12 months we’re all talking about how successful (the) U.S. beef business is in Morocco.”

The free trade agreement will allow for all duties on U.S. beef to be phased to zero by 2023.