The Mexican government will allow 55,000 additional tons of tariff-free chicken imports from the U.S. as the country works through an avian flu outbreak. The move raises the tariff-free quota to 355,000 tons of the imported poultry, according to Mexico’s official gazette, and covers fresh, refrigerated, or frozen meat. The move is not without its restrictions; several U.S. counties are banned from exporting to Mexico based on an outbreak of Virulent Newcastle disease, which USDA has confirmed on 433 premises primarily in southern California. According to the Mexican government, avian flu has been confirmed in about two-thirds of the country’s 31 states. USDA describes chicken as “the most affordable and preferred animal protein in Mexico” and expect 4.4 million metric tons of it to be consumed in 2019. Imports are expected to make up about 840,000 MT of that, with the U.S. expected to hold onto its dominant market share. The U.S. held an 86 percent market share in Mexico in 2017, but Brazil looks to be a more formidable competitor in 2019.
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