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Brazil Now Exporting Pork to Mexico: Will it Affect the U.S.?

- November 22, 2022

Claiming approximately 86% of chilled and 60% frozen pork market share, the U.S. pork industry supplies Mexico with a majority of its safe, nutrient-dense pork. However, since Mexico’s duty-free announcement in May 2022, some new players have joined the game.

While Europe quickly capitalized on the opportunity, Brazil still sat on the sidelines, until now.

Erin Borror, vice president of economic analysis for the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) says, “We’ve been waiting and anticipating when Mexico might allow pork from Brazil. They’ve allowed Brazilian poultry for a few years now, and this past week announced that they have approved a handful of Brazilian pork plants.” 

Specifically, eight plants in Brazil’s state of Santa Catarina, Brazil’s state that’s free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and does not vaccinate for FMD, will be eligible to export pork to Mexico. The pigs must be born, raised, and slaughtered in the state’s designated plants, and the pork will be further processed upon arrival in Mexico, Borror explains.

What does this mean for U.S. pork?

Borror explains the proximity and long history in the market provides a major advantage to U.S. pork exports to Mexico, specifically in the ability to ship fresh, chilled products. 

“I don’t think Brazil will challenge us in that chilled category. Where it might get interesting is on the frozen side,” Borror notes. “When Mexico eliminated the import duties back in May, Europe did gain some momentum, mostly Spanish, bellies. Brazil, like Europe, right now benefits from the temporary zero tariff rate, so we can imagine some opportunities for Brazil to do some business in that frozen category.”

Efforts to uphold the strong, standing relationship between the U.S. and Mexico have continued, including the Pork Leadership Institute’s (PLI) recent trip to Mexico City, conducted by the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council.

USMEF also recently completed a campaign in Mexico, reaching over 33 million consumers in Mexico, using the power of social media to share new ideas for meals at home using high quality U.S. red meat.

Mexico Daily Post