WASHINGTON – For 2011, Mexico is expected to import 545,000 metric tons of broilers, parts, and meats, 3.6% above the 526,000 tons estimated for 2010, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN study on poultry this month from Mexico City, Mexico, the Sept. 24 issue of the National Chicken Council’s Washington Report said.

A continued rise in imports is predicted by F.A.S. despite economic difficulties in Mexico. This year’s broiler imports will likely be 6.9% ahead of the 492,000 tons in 2009.

F.A.S. predicts the U.S. to continue to supply about 95% of Mexico’s broiler imports and 98% of turkey imports in 2011. Chile and Canada provide the remainder.

Leading broiler products imported are chilled or frozen mechanically deboned chicken meat and chicken leg quarters (C.L.Q.s), both chilled and frozen. Imports of poultry products are increasingly diversifying, F.A.S. said. Deboned chicken meat is imported principally by domestic sausage and cold-cut industries and the C.L.Q.s are imported to be sold in supermarkets.

Large meat processors prefer fresh, refrigerated C.L.Q.s, while small and medium processors tend to use frozen product.

In 2011, whole chicken imports are expected to decline. Whole chicken imports, from January to April 2010, both chilled and frozen, declined more than 90% principally due to prices. Meanwhile, imports of chilled C.L.Q.s have increased approximately 33% compared to the same period during 2009, with all of these imports coming from the U.S.

Mexico’s meat-processing industry is expected to continue importing raw materials in 2011, such as mechanically deboned chicken and turkey meat. Greater consumer demand of further-processed meat is expected. However, from January to May 2010, the importation of frozen mechanically-deboned chicken from the U.S. decreased 12.6% and by 32% from Chile, the study reveals.

Regarding exports, Mexican chicken meat exports in 2011 are expected to increase 20% as a result of approval having been given to certain establishments to export to foreign countries, including the U.S. At the end of 2010, the Mexican government is expected to list a second plant as eligible to export to Japan, the report stated. This year Mexico started exporting chicken feet to Asia, chicken-breast meat and boneless C.L.Q.s to Japan. Chicken sausage exports are estimated at 4,000 metric tons for 2010.

Mexico and Brazil have stated their intention to sign a free-trade agreement. However, the Mexican poultry industry strongly opposes a free-trade agreement between Mexico and Brazil. The poultry industry perceives this proposed agreement as a threat and is lobbying against it fearing that the Mexican poultry industry will be unable to compete against Brazil because of limited availability of feed grains and commercial credit in Mexico, N.C.C. relays Moreover, the National Poultry Union said the Mexican poultry producers would face limited market access in Brazil because of high sanitary barriers for imported poultry products.

Mexican broiler production in 2011 is likely to increase 1.5% to 2,850,000 metric tons compared with 2,809,000 tons in 2010 and 2,781,000 tons in 2009.