Mexican Pork Producers Gain Access to Chinese Market

MEXICO - Mexican pork producers have received new market access to China and are looking for expanded market access elsewhere in Asia.
calendar icon 10 December 2012
clock icon 4 minute read

Disease-free recognition remains one of the key barriers for the industry but as science-based discussions continue, the door for Mexican origin pork and pork offal exports will widen. The country is expected to remain a net pork importer with the United States being the primary foreign supplier.

The central and state governments of Mexico, besides livestock producer organizations, have been pursuing pork market access to China since 2008 after having gained access to markets in the US, Japan, and Korea. Recently, the National Service of Health, Food Safety, and Food Quality (SENASICA) announced that the People's Republic of China Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine General Administration (AQSIQ), approved the Zoo-sanitary Export Certificates that will enable four Mexican establishments to ship pork to China. Mexico’s President Calderon and People's Republic of China Prime Minister Wen Jiabao signed the protocol under which the trade of this merchandise must comply.

The four Federal Inspection Type (TIF) establishments granted access are located in the State of Sonora and will be eligible to export chilled or frozen pork cuts (not offal at this time). Industry sources indicate that contractual requirements will likely dictate that the product be ractopamine free. Sources also suggest that the target market for the product will likely be retail (e.g., self-service supermarkets) and institutional (e.g., cafeterias) that wish to purchase hams, split carcasses, or whole carcasses and then add value to the product for final consumers. Mexican industry members are now analyzing the opportunities to see whether they can produce to Chinese requirements.

Mexico’s pork sector forecasts that its pork meat exports to China, in the short term, will be 10,000 metric tons (MT) and could be valued at US $35 million. Industry sources are optimistic that this initial amount could be doubled soon given the strong demand for pork meat and offal that China has sourced from world markets over the past two years. Mexican industry sources report that per capita consumption in China is around 45 kilograms while Mexican per capita consumption is estimated at 14 kilograms.

Officials from the Mexican Pork Confederation (CPM) believe that Mexican producers are capable of producing sufficient amounts of pork meat that would allow exports to China to reach 20,000 MT. This could be accomplished with the Chinese recognition of 9 additional establishments, whose petitions were submitted at the beginning of the negotiations between Mexican and Chinese authorities.

Mexican Disease Free Recognition Remains Key to Expanded and New Access

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) recognizes that Sonora, Baja California, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and the Yucatan are free of classical swine fever (CSF) and are eligible to ship pork meat from Mexican origin swine to Japan. Recently, Japan recognized a TIF establishment located in the State of Jalisco as eligible to supply pork— one of the most important pork producing states in Mexico— and it is likely that Mexico will request Japan authorize an additional 24 TIF pork slaughter and processing establishments.

As previously reported, the United States’ recognition of Mexican states as free of CSF has been one of the key factors to opening foreign markets for Mexican pork. USDA continues discussions with Mexico that could result in more Mexican states being considered CSF-free and could allow more raw Mexican-origin pork to be considered eligible for access to the United States. Presently, all Mexican states can export processed/cooked pork to the United States whereas only 9 states can ship raw pork.

In the meantime, Mexico is expected to continue exploring foreign market niches for high quality Mexican pork meat while expanding exports to what the industry considers are established markets. However, given that Mexico is a net importer, the United States will continue to be its major foreign supplier.

Mexican Pork Exports by Destination (Metric Tons) from 2009 to 2012 Year to Date

Further Reading

Find out more information on classical swine fever by clicking here.
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