August 27, 2008

 

Mexico considers response to US meat trade restriction
   

 

Mexican agricultural and trade officials Tuesday (August 26) were investigating the reasons behind a US decision to shut down some of its meat exports to the US, officials at the agricultural ministry said.

 

The officials said that while no decisions had been made in Mexico at this point to retaliate with bans of meat imports from the US, such a decision could not yet be ruled out.

 

The US is Mexico's biggest source of meat imports. "We are still investigating the reasons behind this decision but at this point no decision has been made to retaliate against the US," a spokesman at the ministry told Dow Jones Newswires.

 

Another official said Mexican trade and sanitary officials were still evaluating the case and no decision on how to respond to the US would be made until "all details are known" to the Mexican government.

 

USDA undersecretary Richard Raymond Monday said there has been no indication so far that Mexico plans to retaliate in any way after a US audit forced the shutdown of some Mexican meat exports to the US.

 

The seven plants, which represent about 20 percent of the 36 cleared to export meat to the US, were shut down after a recent US audit that found problems with food safety procedures at seven Mexican facilities that export beef, pork and poultry products to the US, Raymond said.

 

Mexico voluntarily "de-listed" the seven plants after the annual audit USDA officials performed in June and July, USDA spokeswoman Laura Reiser said.

 

USDA officials, including Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Al Almanza, met with Mexican officials last week in Mexico to brief them on the results of the audit that had been performed in June and July.
     

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