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Second Largest Pork Export Market Threatened

by 5m Editor
10 January 2003, at 12:00am

US - A notice filed Tuesday in Mexico’s Diario Oficial marks the beginning of an official investigation of alleged “dumping“ of U.S. pork onto the Mexican market.

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“Mexico is today our No. 2 market for U.S. pork and pork variety meat after more than a decade of steady growth,“ said U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Philip Seng. Mexico purchased 202,798 metric tons (mt) of pork and pork variety meat from the U.S., valued at more than $286 million in 2001.

“This action could jeopardize years of market development funded by the National Pork Board, USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service and others. In addition, years of investment by our members – both in time and dollars – are also threatened. USMEF is working to make additional information and materials regarding this case available to its members as soon as possible,“ Seng said, noting that the petition’s first deadline for information from the U.S. industry is less than a month away.

The antidumping investigation was called for by the Mexican Pork Council, Consejo Mexicano de Porcicultura (CMP), and apparently does not include pork variety meats, although it covers virtually all other U.S. pork products, for the period April 1-September 30, 2002.

This action comes at a time when many agricultural groups are calling on the Mexican government to renegotiate NAFTA. “Mexican pork producers, in particular, want to negotiate a new trade agreement,“ Seng said. “But we have an agreement, called NAFTA, which has benefited producers on both sides of the border. We want Mexico to stand by NAFTA.“

One unusual aspect of the petition is that CMP said traditional methods of determining value of U.S. pork were invalid. Instead, CMP argues for a comparison of export prices to a third party, in this case Japan, as the appropriate method for establishing damage. “They don’t want to compare apples to apples,“ Seng said, “and this simply is not a reasonable approach.“

In addition, Seng noted, CMP isn’t asking for reparation of past damage, but asks instead to be protected from all future damage through the establishment of duties based on damage CMP expects to be found as the result of this investigation. “It could affect our trade for years to come. Yet, because this action is aimed at the U.S. alone, trade will continue and only the U.S. will suffer.“

USMEF held a preliminary conference call with its exporter members Thursday and continues to confer with the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the American Meat Institute (AMI), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to consider a concerted reaction, including legal action, by the U.S. pork industry. A previously-arranged meeting between these groups and CMP officials in Washington, D.C., Monday will provide an opportunity for further discussion.

In 2001, according to revised USDA statistics, total pork exports grew 21 percent in volume to more than 703,000 metric tons, while value grew 13 percent to nearly $1.6 billion. Exports now account for more than 9.9 percent of U.S. pork production on a wholesale weight basis.

Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation - 9th January 2003

5m Editor