Joe Melle, USTR and Ruben Morales, Minister of Economy, Guatemala
(Left) John Melle, Assistant USTR for the Western Hemisphere and Rubén Morales, Minister of Economy of Guatemala, sign an agreement that will benefit US poultry producers.

WASHINGTON – The United States and the government of Guatemala reached an agreement that eliminates tariffs on fresh and frozen poultry four-and-a-half years earlier than planned. Guatemala is the sixth-largest export market for US poultry.

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced an agreement in which the government of Guatemala unilaterally agreed to accelerate the elimination of tariffs on US exports of fresh, frozen and chilled chicken leg quarters. US poultry exports would have faced a tariff of 12.5 percent this year without this agreement, according to the USTR.

“The agreement is welcome news and NCC very much appreciates the work and support of USTR to accelerate the removal of tariffs on US exports of fresh, frozen and chilled chicken leg quarters to Guatemala,” Tom Super, vice president of communications for the National Chicken Council, said in a statement.

Separately, Guatemala and the US reached a bilateral agreement which enables Guatemala to establish a tariff rate quota allowing imports of 1,000 metric tons of processed chicken leg quarters to enter duty free each year through Dec. 31, 2021. The tariffs and tariff-rate quota will be eliminated effective Jan. 1, 2022.

US agricultural exports to Guatemala totaled more than $1.1 billion in 2016 with US chicken leg quarters representing approximately 8 percent or $82 million, according to the USTR. US poultry exporters had a 98 percent market share of all imports of chicken leg quarters into Guatemala in 2016.