Since the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) was implemented in 2006, Honduras has blossomed into a top 10 destination for U.S. pork exports. Through October of this year, U.S. pork exports to Honduras were 6 percent ahead of last year’s pace in both volume (17,372 metric tons) and value ($40.4 million), making Honduras our ninth-largest pork market. U.S. share of the Honduran imported pork market currently stands at nearly 99 percent in terms of volume and more than 96 percent in value.
U.S. pork’s remarkable success in Honduras is lost on our competitors. When Canada and Honduras recently announced the signing of a free trade agreement, Canadian pork was high on the list of products expected to benefit. Through this FTA, Honduras will open a duty-free quota for Canadian pork muscle cuts. The 15 percent duty rate for out-of-quota imports from Canada will also be reduced by one percentage point per year, with unlimited volumes allowed at zero duty by Year 15 of the agreement.
Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for marketing and communications, addresses some of the factors that helped the U.S. industry develop Honduras into such a reliable export market, and says this success cannot be taken for granted. He adds that the new Canada-Honduras free trade agreement helps underscore the importance of CAFTA-DR, which allowed U.S. pork to establish an important foothold in this market before competitors could gain access on similar terms.