WASHINGTON – Government animal health officials representing the United States, Canada and Mexico signed a letter of understanding (LOU) to harmonize methods for responding to detections of avian influenza. The representatives signed the letter during a ceremony in Los Cabos, Mexico.

The LOU creates a working group of animal health officials and representatives of poultry and egg industries from all three countries. The group will serve as a forum for regular scientific discussions on avian influenza. The LOU also establishes clear objectives for enhanced cooperation between the North American Free trade partners in areas including technical information on AI prevention, control, preparedness and recovery.

“Mexico and Canada represent the lion’s share of our poultry and egg trade,” said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC). “Together, these two markets account for more than two-thirds of all US turkey exports, nearly two-thirds of our egg trade, and a third of our broiler exports — an annual value of almost $2 billion. That’s about one-third of the value of all US poultry and egg exports in any given year.”

The signing ceremony is the result of discussions begun in late 2014 in Washington, between USAPEEC and the Union Nacional de Avicultores (UNA), trade organizations that represent the interests of the poultry industries in the United States and Mexico.