The U.S. pork industry has received more good news concerning U.S. pork exports. This time, the news comes from south of the border.

Mexico has lifted tariffs on U.S. exports, including pork, according to the National Pork Producers Council. The step comes after the U.S. government granted the first permit to a Mexican trucking firm to haul goods into the United States resolving a lengthy trade dispute between the two nations over trucking.

In July, the two countries signed an agreement resolving the trucking issue, with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) crafting a cross-border trucking program and the Mexican government cutting the retaliatory tariffs by 50 percent. The remaining tariffs have now been suspended after DOT issued the trucking permit.

“America’s pork producers are very pleased that the United States issued the first Mexican trucking permit, which has led to the Mexican government removing the remaining retaliatory tariffs on our products,” said NPPC President Doug Wolf, a producer from Lancaster, Wis. “Mexico is a very important market for the U.S. pork industry and for many other sectors. More than 6 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico.”

Mexico continues to be the top volume destination for U.S. pork, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. August volume of 44,641 metric tons was steady with 2010 but up 13 percent from July. Through August, U.S. pork export value to Mexico was up 2 percent to just under $654 million. The U.S. pork industry shipped $986 million of pork south of the border in 2010.

The long-standing dispute between the nations was over a provision of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The trucking provision was set to become effective in December 1995, but the United States failed to abide by it. Mexico imposed tariffs on 89 U.S. products in March 2009, after Congress failed to renew a two-year-old pilot program that allowed a limited number of Mexican trucks into the United States. Mexico added products, including pork, in August 2010 after the Obama administration failed to present a proposal for resolving the trucking dispute.

“It is important that the Unites States abides by its NAFTA obligations and does not yield to protectionist forces,” Wolf said. “U.S. exports and American jobs are at stake.”

Source: NPPC, USMEF