US chicken industry fights Mexico's anti-dumping move

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- The Mexican Secretariat of Economy (Economia) published a notice in the Feb. 8 edition of the Diario Oficial – Mexico’s official government organ – that it will begin an anti-dumping investigation on the import of certain US chicken products, according to the USA Poulty & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC).

The notice was published on behalf of Bachoco, the largest producer of chicken in Mexico, and two other smaller companies, Productores Avicolas de Tehuacan SA de CV (PATSA), and Buenaventura.

Import tariff lines included in the notification cover a range of fresh and frozen dark-meat chicken products, such as leg quarters, thighs, drumsticks, and boneless legs and thighs. No turkey products are included in the investigation.

“We’re a bit surprised by this case,” said Jim Sumner, USAPEEC president. “The US and Mexican industries have a long history of cooperation. We look forward to resolving this case promptly.

“We also find it quite interesting that Bachoco has brought these charges against our industry without the knowledge of the Mexican Poultry Producers Association [Union Nacional de Avicultores, or UNA] or many public officials in Mexico,” Sumner added. “In fact, UNA has said that the organization does not support the anti-dumping investigation.”

For 15 years, the US and Mexican industries have worked cooperatively on several issues, Sumner said. About 10 years ago, USAPEEC and UNA co-founded the NAFTA Egg and Poultry Partnership (NEPP) to address issues of common interest to both industries.

“Our two organizations have had a good working relationship over the years,” said José Luis Cruz, who directs USAPEEC’s two offices in Mexico. “Not just to address market access issues on both sides of the border, but also to take advantage of each other’s strengths as we work on two-way trade opportunities for both industries.”

USAPEEC has retained a Mexican law firm, Uruchurtu and Associates, to contest the allegations, and has also retained the services of Gary Horlick, a Washington-based trade lawyer.

“We intend to fight these baseless allegations aggressively on behalf of the US chicken industry, and in cooperation with the US government,” Horlick said. “This case lacks justification. The main petitioner just reported a sales increase for 2010 of nearly 10%, and our calculations show that US companies were not selling their chicken to Mexico at prices below the US price, which is the definition of dumping.”
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