Poultry meat producers in Mexico are aware that they are operating in a global business but they are calling for conditions to be fair, according to the president of the National Union of Poultry Farmers (UNA).
According to UNA President Cesar Quesada Macias, the country’s trading partners have been dumping ever greater quantities of chicken meat – particularly legs and thighs - on the Mexican market. Between 2005 and 2015, imports from the U.S. increased from around 104,000 metric tons (mt) to more than 365,000 mt, according to Macais.
While the poultry industry in Mexico has improved its efficiency, he alleges that the federal government allowed unfair chicken imports from the U.S., Brazil and Argentina. The outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) starting in 2012 mainly hit the egg sector, he said, but the disease also spread to heavy breeders, which impacted chicken meat production.
Previous investigations into the imports of chicken parts at below the cost of production were addressed by increasing the import duties on specific products from Europe and the U.S., according to Macais, and the imposition of a tariff-free quota of 300,000mt on products from other countries, including Brazil and Argentina.
The continuation of this latter arrangement is not justified, according to Macais, because of the disparity in the sizes of the Brazilian and Mexican poultry meat sectors.
Imports of U.S. poultry
Imports of poultry meat from the U.S. could resume from April of this year, when the Mexican authority - Animal Health General Directorate’s National Service of Health, Food Safety, and Food Quality from the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishery and Food (SENASICA-SAGARPA) lifted the restrictions on the import of poultry and poultry products from nearly all U.S. states previously afflicted with HPAI.
In its most recent report, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service forecast that both production and consumption of chicken meat in Mexico would reach record levels this year as the result of low and stable feed prices. Commercial production was forecast to reach 3.3 million metric tons (mmt) in 2016, and consumption at 4.08 mmt.
Imports were forecast to be slightly higher at 790,000 mt. According to the USDA, the U.S. supplies nearly all Mexico’s imports of chicken and turkey meat. While Chile and Brazil continue to gain market share, Argentina was also expected to become a competitor in the Mexican market this year.