Morocco will begin accepting shipments of U.S. beef this year, the Trump administration announced Thursday.

According to an administration release, 2018 is the first year U.S. beef and poultry exporters will have access to the North African country. Morocco has imported $512 million worth of U.S. ag exports so far this year, and the administration estimates the country could represent an $80 million market for U.S. beef.

“New access to the Moroccan market for beef and beef products is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports of U.S. agricultural products,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue concurred and offered a similar sentiment that he stated when American beef producers gained access to China.

“American beef is the best in the world, and once Moroccans get a taste of it, they’ll surely want more,” he said.

Kevin Kester, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, thanked the administration for its efforts, saying new markets “are the lifeblood of the U.S. cattle and beef industry.

“New access to Morocco is welcome news for producers and we are excited that Moroccan consumers can now enjoy high-quality U.S. beef,” Kester said in a statement.

Morocco previously opened its market to U.S. poultry in August. The U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement, under which the exports are authorized, was signed in 2004.

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