What Do Mexico’s Duty Exemptions Mean for Imported Pork, Beef and Poultry?

Mexico recently issued a decree extending zero-duty treatment of certain food imports – including pork, beef and poultry – from all eligible suppliers through the end of 2024. 
The country first suspended these import duties in May 2022, as part of an effort to combat rising food prices, Erin Borror, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) vice president of economic analysis, explained in a release.

“Similar to the U.S., inflation in general has been coming down. So we kind of had a sense that they may go ahead and let that temporary tariff exemption expire at the end of 2023. But they extended it again through the end of 2024, and so now it’s kind of become a longer term policy,” Borror said.

Mexico is the leading destination for U.S. pork exports, with U.S. and Canadian pork having duty-free access to Mexico through NAFTA and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.  Mexico’s pork duty exemption has mainly benefited the European Union and Brazil, and Brazilian pork made some inroads into the Mexican market after gaining access in early 2023, USMEF noted in a release. However, in November, Mexico suspended imports of Brazilian pork after a court ruling detailed procedural deficiencies in the implementation of Mexico’s sanitary requirements.

While it is likely temporary, USMEF said this suspension remains in place.

“Ninety percent of our exports are chilled and difficult for Brazil to compete head on. So our share of total exports of pork to Mexico actually increased from the prior two years to 84%. So that Brazilian product that has made inroads – they were taking market share from Canada, and Brazil took share from Europe,” Borror explained.