Morocco lifts the ban on American beef products months after allowing US poultry imports

In August, Morocco allowed, for the first time, US poultry imports into the country. On Thursday, the US Trade Representative announced that the Kingdom has lifted the ban on US beef products too.

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The US Trade Representative announced that the Kingdom has lifted the ban on US beef products./Ph. DR

The US Trade Representative and the US Secretary of Agriculture announced, Thursday, that the Moroccan government has agreed to allow imports of US beef and beef products into the Kingdom, revealed a press release made public on the same day.

It is the first time that American beef producers have access to the Moroccan market, indicated the same source, stressing that the decision was taken only a few months after Rabat allowed the entry of US poultry imports.

Commenting on the decision, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, stated that «new access to the Moroccan market for beef and beef products is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports of the U.S. agricultural products».

Meanwhile, the US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stressed that «American beef is the best in the world, and once Moroccans get a taste of it, they’ll surely want more». He added that the «opening of the Moroccan market is good news for our producers».

In their communiqué, the two American officials recalled that Morocco banned in the past imports of US beef. But the ban was lifted after officials from the two countries met and negotiated a health certificate and the terms for importing US high quality beef and standard quality beef into Morocco. The new deal was made possible through the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The same source reported that «initial estimates indicate that Morocco would be an $80 million market for US beef and beef products».

US poultry and the Moroccan producers' anger

Morocco’s decision came after it permitted for the first time US poultry imports. In August the 7th, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the Kingdom will start importing US poultry products.

At the time Morocco stated that it expects an initial annual shipment estimated at about $10 million after it lifted the ban on U.S. poultry, implemented due to safety concerns. A few days later, the US Poultry & Egg Council (USAPEEC) indicated in a communiqué that the deal will also cover American turkey.

USAPEEC President Jim Sumner announced in the same press release that there will be a duty-free quota of 6,400 metric tons for chicken parts. The quota will then increase by 200 metric tons each year to eventually become unlimited. The president of the council stressed later that this decision will allow the USA to have full access to the Moroccan market by 2030.

However, the measure was highly criticized by Moroccan poultry producers who said in August that importing American products would create «unfair competition». The Moroccan Interprofessional Federation of the Poultry Sector (FISA) argued that the Moroccan market is self-sufficient and that its products are of good quality.

The National Association of Meat and Poultry Producers (ANPVV) was also against the decision. The body believes that importing American poultry products «will affect the sector, which has been facing major difficulties for two years».

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