Dan Halstrom, US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice-president of marketing, has been to meet with major meat processors in Mexico. The move is to tackle the Canadian market, which has been aggressively targeting Mexico due to the Russian market closure. It was also an attempt to offset the possibility of retaliatory tariffs on US pork and other meat products, as a result of the country-of-origin-labelling (COOL) dispute between the US, Mexico and Canada.
The US still has the majority of Mexico’s imported pork market at about 85% this year, but down from 90% in 2014.
The latest export data, released by the US Department of Agriculture and compiled by USMEF revealed that, in the first-half of 2015, export value to Mexico was $619.3 million, down 18% on 2014, reflecting lower prices for hams and other cuts. The export volume remained very strong (353,296 mt, up 6%).
Halstrom said: “The further process sector in Mexico is by far the largest segment of consumption of US pork. We’ve always been focused on the sector, but we have a renewed push here recently, especially in light of the increased production here in the US to make sure we are defending our share down in Mexico.”
He said that there was increased competition from Canada with the exchange rate and he held meetings to “make sure we defend our turf”. The US has enough “headwinds” dealing with the peso devaluation, which puts imports in a difficult position to be able to deal with any retaliation because of COOL, he confirmed.