August 22, 2003
U.S./Mexico Trade Update
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Services, Bill Hawks, this week met with Javier Trujillo, Mexico's director chief of the National Service for Agricultural Health, Food Safety and Quality. Officials discussed several agricultural trade and sanitary/phyto-sanitary issues, including Mexico's new import regulations for sheep and goats.
Mexico is an important trading partner to the U.S. sheep industry; historically, most of the U.S. mutton supply has been shipped live to Mexico. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has been working closely with USDA and industry groups since May on this issue.
According to USDA, over the past two months, Mexico has changed its import system to provide assurances that sheep imported from the United States are not diverted from Mexico's federally inspected slaughtering establishments. With this recent change, sheep have still been exported but under less flexible volumes and, at times, reduced volumes.
Approximately six weeks ago, Mexico notified the United States that additional scrapie requirements would be imposed on sheep and goats presented for importation into Mexico from the United States. While Under Secretary Hawks and Director Chief Trujillo, as well as APHIS officials, have been discussing the details of Mexico's new requirements, they continue to work toward developing language that provides Mexico with the risk-reduction assurances they need and that the United States can certify, based upon the National Scrapie Eradication Program Standards.
Staff contact: Paul Rodgers, 304-647-9981