Lindsay Mitchell

Aug 28, 2018  |  Today's News |  Livestock |  Exports

Earlier this month, the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the government of Morocco has agreed to allow commercial imports of U.S. poultry meat and poultry products into their country for the first time.


This brings an end to a 14-year-long effort to gain entry into the market on behalf of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, which IL Corn supports.  Poultry makes up 33% of the corn fed to livestock.


It also marks the beginning of an exciting partnership to introduce Morocco to further processed chicken and turkey products.


“We’re very pleased after 14 years since a Free Trade Agreement was signed between our countries, for poultry to finally to have access,” USAPEEC President Jim Sumner said. Sumner noted that while the initial quota for imports is limited, “The good news is that by 2024 for turkey, and by 2030 for chicken, we will have full access.”


“The Trump Administration continues to prioritize the opening of new markets for U.S. agricultural products,” Lighthizer said. “This new access to the Moroccan market is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports.”


“Opening new markets for American poultry and other agricultural products is a top priority,” Secretary Perdue added. “I am convinced that when the Moroccan people get a taste of U.S. poultry, they're going to want more of it.”


The U.S. had entered into a Free Trade Agreement with Morocco in 2004, but a health certificate was never negotiated. So, no U.S. poultry has entered the market. Extensive negotiations this year involving the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and led by the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, culminated with the opening of the market


Morocco is a growing market for further processed products as well as raw poultry. There will be a duty-free quota of 6,400 metric tons for chicken parts. The quota will increase by 200 metric tons each year until eventually, it will become unlimited.


Initial estimates indicate that Morocco would be a $10 million market, with additional growth over time.


“What’s really great about this agreement,” Sumner said, is that the U.S. is the only country with duty-free access for chicken. Morocco, being mostly a live bird market, does very little of its own chicken processing. The U.S. will have the opportunity to introduce many further processed chicken and even turkey products to the Moroccan market. We look forward to working with the Moroccan poultry industry to help grow the consumption of all poultry products, both domestic and foreign.”