U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Dec. 6 that the government of Morocco has agreed to allow imports of U.S. beef and beef products into Morocco. This year is the first year U.S. beef and poultry exporters have access to Morocco’s market under the terms of the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Morocco opened its market to U.S. poultry in August 2018.
“President Trump continues to prioritize the opening of new markets for U.S. agricultural products. New access to the Moroccan market for beef and beef products is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports of U.S. agricultural products,” said Lighthizer. “I welcome Morocco’s agreement to allow imports of U.S. beef and look forward to growing our shipments to Morocco.”
Perdue commented, “Finding new markets for American agricultural products has been a priority for the Trump Administration from day one, and the opening of the Moroccan market is good news for our producers. American beef is the best in the world, and once Moroccans get a taste of it, they’ll surely want more.”
USDA said the U.S. was the world’s third largest beef exporter in 2017, with global sales of beef and beef products valued at $7.3 billion. As of November 2018, U.S. exports of agricultural products to Morocco exceeded $512 million. Initial estimates indicate that Morocco would be an $80 million market for U.S. beef and beef products. Morocco had prohibited imports of U.S. beef.
Under the leadership of USTR chief agricultural negotiator, ambassador Gregg Doud and the direction of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ken Isley, U.S. and Moroccan officials met to negotiate a health certificate and the terms for the import of U.S. high quality and standard quality beef into Morocco. Representatives also discussed improvements to the administration of Morocco’s wheat tariff-rate quota and other agriculture and SPS issues and will continue this work through the agriculture and SPS subcommittees under the FTA.
National Cattlemen's Beef Association president Kevin Kester issued the following statement in response to the announcement:
"Open markets are the lifeblood of the U.S. cattle and beef industry. New access to Morocco is welcome news for producers and we are excited that Moroccan consumers can now enjoy high-quality U.S. beef. NCBA is grateful for the leadership President Trump, Ambassador Lighthizer, and Ambassador Doud have shown on this issue. We look forward to working with them to continue tearing down trade barriers for U.S. beef in markets around the world."