The United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) goes into full force and marks the start of a new chapter for North American trade. Negotiators from the three nations achieved an important new agreement that will lead to greater reciprocal fair trade among these nations, creating more open markets and economic growth in North America.

USMCA was a catalyst for gaining market access for U.S. bovine meat and bone meal (MBM) into Mexico.  NARA thanks the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for successful discussions with Mexican trade officials during the USMCA negotiations resulting in Mexico’s agreement to move forward to allow imports of bovine MBM in 2019 after years of delay.  NARA also appreciates the work of USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in its extensive technical discussions with Mexican officials that were instrumental in gaining this important market access.

NARA worked with local Mexican associations and their government authorities to advocate that access for U.S. bovine MBM into Mexico will help its poultry, swine, and pet food producers remain competitive by reducing feed costs.

Mexico’s agreement to allow imports of U.S. bovine MBM adheres to the science-based directive established by the International Animal Health Organization (OIE) that such imports are safe from nations such as the U.S. that are negligible risk for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) since they do not pose a health risk.  (BSE is a progressive neurological disorder of cattle.) Importantly, the Agreement contains strong sanitary-phytosanitary provisions that require the following of international scientific guidelines, such as those of the OIE and other science-based worldwide official organizations.  

Mexico’s demand for bovine MBM is expected to grow as its livestock production continues to expand due largely to vertical integration of farms and better biosecurity. In 2019, Mexican livestock exports achieved a new record and this trend is expected to prevail this year and beyond.

Mexico and Canada are both significant export markets for the American rendering industry. For example, Mexican purchases of U.S. rendered animal proteins and fats reached $290 million (438,000 metric tons) last year.  Overall, 18 percent of total U.S. rendering production is exported (over 23 percent of animal proteins and 14 percent of animal fats). In addition to Canada and Mexico, other major markets include countries in Asia and Europe.

Roughly 50% of an animal is considered inedible by North Americans. Rendering reclaims this meat, bone and fat and transforms it into ingredients for a multitude of new products like nutritious pet food and biofuels. By reclaiming these otherwise discarded meat and poultry leftovers, rendering reduces food waste, saves landfill space, and returns clean water to the environment.