The National Pork Producers Council welcomed news released Thursday from the Department of Transportation on progress in the U.S. – Mexico dispute on long haul trucking. U.S. pork exports to Mexico have dropped by 11 percent since Mexico announced in August 2010 that it would hit U.S. pork exports with a retaliatory import duty.

The duty is in response to failure of the United States to abide by its commitments made to Mexico in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

At issue is the U.S. refusal to allow Mexican trucks free access into the United States, as called for under the NAFTA, as well as a 2001 NAFTA dispute settlement ruling. NPPC is hopeful that the “concept paper” released by DOT on a phase in of Mexican trucking into the United States will open the door to quick progress and resolution of this dispute.

“Mexico is our largest volume export market and the retaliation Mexico has put in place on pork has hurt U.S. pork producers,” said NPPC President Sam Carney, a pork producer from Adair, Iowa. “Every month that the trucking issue goes unresolved, we continue to lose market share in Mexico - one of our most important export markets.”

The United States shipped $762 million in pork products to Mexico in 2009. Since 1993, the year before the NAFTA was implemented, U.S. pork exports to Mexico have increased by 580 percent.

Source: NPPC