DENVER – Although Mexico is still the No. 1 destination for U.S. beef exports, it is the only major market trailing last year's results, according to the U.S Meat Export Federation (U.S.M.E.F.). A sluggish economy and weak peso have made Mexico a tough market in 2010, but in August, weekly beef sales data began to suggest signs of improvement.

U.S.M.E.F. Regional Director Chad Russell, who is based in Mexico City, says Mexico's economy has been slow to rebound from the global financial crisis that initially took hold in late 2008. He sees some early indications, however, of a strengthening economy and improvement in consumer confidence. While trade issues between the U.S. and Mexico have attracted a fair amount of media attention lately, the business environment in Mexico remains quite good for U.S. beef in terms of market access, Mr. Russell adds.

Nevertheless, U.S.M.E.F. and U.S. trade officials continue to seek access for beef from cattle 30 months of age and older, and access for still-prohibited items, such as ground beef and sweetbreads.