Mexico clears Canadian poultry meat for import

Duck and other poultry from Canada may again be exported to Mexico, for the first time since 2004.

Canada’s Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland on Thursday announced Mexico had reopened its border to fresh poultry meat including chicken, turkey and, “most significant in terms of historical trade,” duck.

Mexico had closed its ports to the Canadian products in 2004 following Canada’s first outbreak of a highly pathogenic (“high-path”) strain of avian influenza, when H7N3 hit commercial poultry farms in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley.

The resumption of imports is still subject to “limited” avian flu-related restrictions, the Canadian government said Thursday, adding it’s working with Mexican authorities to remove those restrictions.

Benoit Cuchet, chair of the Quebec Duck and Geese Breeders Association, said in the government’s release that the agreement with Mexico “will help to progressively regain the position lost in this rapidly growing market, with a potential for annual sales of more than $3 million.”

The government noted the restored market access follows last month’s visit by Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture Jose Calzada.

Calzada and MacAulay, after that meeting, said they “expressed their commitment to work together to increase the competitiveness of their agricultural sectors and resolve bilateral issues.”

MacAulay, the government said, also used the opportunity of Calzada’s visit “to raise the issue of Mexico’s restrictions on the import of Canadian beef from cattle over 30 months of age.”

Access for live sheep and goats also remains an “active” market access issue, according to a November report from the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, noting “there are also work plans in place for Canadian exports of seed potatoes and apples that require close monitoring.” — Network

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