U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the government of Tunisia and the U.S. have finalized U.S. export certificates to allow imports of U.S. beef, poultry and egg products into Tunisia. The announcement follows meetings between U.S. and Tunisian officials on the safety and wholesomeness of U.S. beef, poultry and egg products, they said.
Lighthizer said President Donald Trump "continues to prioritize the opening of new markets for U.S. agricultural products, and we welcome Tunisia’s agreement to begin imports of U.S. beef, poultry and egg products. New access to the Tunisian market is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports of U.S. agricultural products.”
Perdue added, “I'm convinced that when the Tunisians get a taste of U.S. beef, poultry and eggs, they're going to want more. These products coming into Tunisia are safe, wholesome and very delicious. At the direction of President Trump, [the U.S. Department of Agriculture] remains committed to opening up new markets across the globe. While we continue to supply Tunisia’s domestic animal proteins sector with quality U.S. grains and oilseeds, I have no doubt that U.S. beef, poultry and eggs will only help increase competitiveness and consumer choice within Tunisia.”
In 2018, U.S. exports of agricultural products to Tunisia exceeded $264 million, and more than 90% of those exports were corn, soybeans or corn and soy products. USDA said initial estimates are that Tunisia would import $5-10 million of beef, poultry and egg products annually from the U.S., with additional growth over time.
According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), the European Union reported that beef/beef variety exports to Tunisia in 2018 totaled 2,836 metric tons at a value of $11 million, which mainly consisted of chilled beef and livers. Brazil’s exports totaled 1,518 mt at a value of $5.5 million, mainly of frozen beef cuts. Small export volumes were also reported by New Zealand, Canada and India.
Currently, Tunisia’s import duty rate for all beef items is 36%, USMEF added.