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US pork exports to Panama spark higher tariffs

Safeguard measures have been triggered as pork exports to Panama already exceed 130 percent tariff rate quotas.

26 April 2019, at 11:55am

According to the US Meat Export Federation, export volumes from the US to Panama have already significantly exceeded tariff rate quotas set in place by the US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. Higher tariff rates were applied to some US pork products on 1 April 2019 and will remain in place until 2020; the tariff rate on US pork variety meat remains at zero.

Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF regional marketing director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, says that while the higher tariff rate will definitely have some negative impact on exports to Panama, he expects demand to weather the rate increase fairly well. Rodriguez notes that USMEF has positioned US pork as a versatile product that delivers excellent value to its Panamanian customer base. This is true throughout Central America, where six of the seven countries in the region are now top 20 markets for US pork and in 2018 exports achieved double-digit growth in nearly all of these markets.

US pork exports to Central America were record-large last year, totalling 86,031 metric tonnes valued at more than $200 million. Through February, 2019 exports to the region were 16 percent above last year's volume pace and up another 12 percent in value. Exports to Panama have accelerated at an even faster rate, climbing 66 percent in volume and 45 percent in value from a year ago.