USAPEEC hopes poultry dispute will be resolved

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – Following a meeting between both parties held in Mexico City, officials with the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) are hopeful the trade dispute between the US and Mexican producers will be resolved soon.

Preliminary proposals were presented by USAPEEC to resolve a complaint of alleged dumping by Industrias Bachoco — Mexico’s largest poultry producer — and two smaller companies at a meeting on Aug. 30 called by the Unit of International Trade Practices of the Mexican Economy Secretariat (Economia). After USAPEEC made numerous requests, UPCI agreed to call the meeting.

“We are trying to come up with a proposal that encourages the petitioners and UPCI to dismiss the case, even though we are assured that no dumping has taken place,” USAPEEC said in a statement. The statement described the meeting in Mexico City as “a rare conciliatory hearing.” The session was the first face-to-face meeting of Mexican petitioners and the US industry.

Although conciliatory hearings are allowed by Mexican trade law, the last one was held approximately 10 years ago – and it was also the first.

Hugo Perezcano, UPCI chief, asked USAPEEC, working with the Mexican Poultry Producers Association and the NAFTA Egg & Poultry Partnership, to fine-tune its proposal for submission by Sept. 14. Bachoco will have until Sept. 30 to respond with the hope of reaching a consensus by Oct. 7, USAPEEC said.

During the hearing, USAPEEC presented a wide-ranging proposal aimed at preventing trade disruptions while addressing the concerns of the Mexican government and poultry producers.

“Our legal team is quite pleased with the results of [the] hearing,” Jim Sumner, USAPEEC president, said in the press statement. “We accomplished everything we had hoped for and more. We look at the conciliatory hearing as the beginning of the process to start our discussions with the petitioners to develop a workable settlement.”

Perezcano also said UPCI would extend the conciliatory hearing process, encouraging both sides to continue working toward a settlement, USAPEEC said. USAPEEC also noted that Perezcano added that the agency would continue its investigation irrespective of the conciliatory process.

In a separate announcement on Aug. 30, Perezcano said UPCI would publish its preliminary determination in the investigation on Sept. 30. This will provide the first real indication of how seriously the Mexican government takes the allegations of the petitioners, USAPEEC said. The preliminary determination will address three key issues – whether there was “injury” to the petitioners, whether there was dumping and whether interim duties will be assessed on US companies exporting leg quarters to Mexico.
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