The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has been agreed to, but there is still work to be done outside of the agreement.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) continues work to ensure United States meat exports move without delay. USMEF helps the export process run smoothly by offering educational seminars to inspectors, custom agents, brokers and others involved in the importation of U.S. meat to Mexico.
“The inspection agency in Mexico is notoriously stringent on documentation – labeling errors, compromised product, cold chain issues, etc,” USMEF technical services manager Cheynne McEndaffer said. “We really focus on making sure our exporters are compliant, but that the inspectors are enforcing the rules for imports consistently across the border.”
However, the process is “easier said than done” McEndaffer says unclear import regulations and high turnover rates at the border crossings has created further implications. She emphasizes the importance of border seminars.
“The import regulation for meat products into Mexico is not very specific, so it leaves quite a bit of room for interpretation,” McEndaffer said. “That, combined with the high turnover of inspectors at these border crossings, means we’re continually facing new heads of these groups. The border seminar is to train the new folks, but also ensure this consistency.”
Most United States meat exports entering Mexico are chilled, which further underlines the need for clear regulations, especially on the pork side.
“Processors using products like bone-in hams need that product on a set schedule. Any delay in that process not only compromises shelf life, but also impact their supply chain flow. A big focus of ours is having our technical staff, which includes Dr. Alejandra Valdez in Mexico City, work with the exporter, importer, custom broker, as well as the border agents to make sure that product keeps flowing,” McEndaffer said.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation also plans to offer exporters a similar training seminar. The program would educate quality assurance and documentation employees of the nuances of exporting to Mexico.