The USA Poultry & Egg Council (USAPEEC) and the National Chicken Council (NCC) applaud the news announced Aug. 7 by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue that the government of Morocco has agreed to allow commercial imports of U.S. poultry meat and poultry products into Morocco for the first time, bringing to fruition a 14-year-long effort to gain entry to the market.

“We’re very pleased after 14 years, since a Free Trade Agreement was signed between our countries, for poultry to finally to have access,” USAPEEC President Jim Sumner said. Sumner noted that while the initial quota for imports is limited, “The good news is that by 2024 for turkey, and by 2030 for chicken, we will have full access.”

NCC President Mike Brown praised the action, saying, “This is welcome news and I commend the Administration for its continued efforts to open markets for U.S. chicken around the world. Producers are very excited about this new market opportunity.”

“The Trump Administration continues to prioritize the opening of new markets for U.S. agricultural products,” Lighthizer said. “This new access to the Moroccan market is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports.”

“Opening new markets for American poultry and other agricultural products is a top priority.” Secretary Perdue added. “I am convinced that when the Moroccan people get a taste of U.S. poultry, they're going to want more of it.”

The U.S. had entered into a Free Trade Agreement with Morocco in 2004, but a health certificate was never negotiated. So, no U.S. poultry entered the market. Extensive negotiations this year involving the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and led by the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, culminated with the opening of the market.

The final step came with Morocco issuing a health certificate and the updating of the FSIS Export Library.

Morocco is a growing market for further processed products as well as raw poultry. There will be a duty-free quota of 6,400 metric tons for chicken parts. The quota will increase by 200 metric tons each year until eventually becoming unlimited. Initial estimates indicate that Morocco would be a $10 million market, with additional growth over time.

“What’s really great about this agreement,” Sumner said, is that the U.S. is the only country with duty free access for chicken. Morocco, being mostly a live bird market, does very little of its own chicken processing. The U.S. will have the opportunity to introduce many further processed chicken and even turkey products to the Moroccan market. We look forward to working with the Moroccan poultry industry to help grow the consumption of all poultry products, both domestic and foreign.”