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Morocco opens borders to U.S. poultry

Morocco opens borders to U.S. poultry

USDA estimates the market access is worth about US$10 million annually

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

During a time when U.S. agriculture is targeted in trade disputes, American poultry producers have reason for optimism.

Yesterday, the USDA announced that Morocco will allow imports of frozen U.S. poultry products, which could be worth about US$10 million annually. Morocco will limit American poultry imports to 8,958 tons this year. That number accounts for about 1.3 percent or Morocco’s poultry consumption.

“Opening new markets for American poultry and other agricultural products is a top priority,” U.S. agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement yesterday. “I am convinced that, when the Moroccan people get a taste of U.S. poultry, they’re going to want more of it.”

Industry groups are pleased with the increased market access.

"Exports are so vital to the whole industry, so to hear that Morocco will accept U.S. poultry is great news for producers," Mike Giles, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation, told Farms.com today. "About 20 percent of U.S. poultry is exported, and as productivity increases, it will be important to have access to different global markets."

The poultry agreement dates to the 2006 Morocco Free Trade Agreement. The deal outlined that the two national departments of agriculture would work together to increase poultry trade from the U.S. to Morocco.

But Morocco placed a ban on American poultry in 2015 due to outbreaks of high pathogenic avian influenza.

U.S. products must come with health and Islamic Halal certificates, according to a Moroccan statement, Reuters reported.

With the poultry portion of the trade agreement in place, the sector could expand its presence in Morocco.

“We’re very pleased after 14 years, since a Free Trade Agreement was signed between our countries, for poultry to finally have access,” Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Council, said in a statement yesterday. “The good news is that by 2024 for turkey, and by 2030 for chicken, we will have full (market) access.”

Merrimon/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo

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