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Postponement of Combo Bans Allows Negotiations

by 5m Editor
13 January 2009, at 6:04am

US - Mexican officials agreed late last week to push back to 30 January from 16 January the effective date of a rule that would force US meat exporters to significantly change their shipping methods and raise their shipping costs, according to USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

Prompted by Mexico's desire to increase food safety, Mexico has proposed a ban on US-shipped combo bins, which American exporters primarily have used to send some 2,000 pounds of meat per unit for the last 12 years. The new rule would require much smaller packages because they are easier to inspect, especially when sorting through frozen product.

However, postponement of the combo ban will allow US and Mexican officials to continue negotiations. Mexican officials also have been invited to visit the US border with Canada to view demonstrations of the methods US importers use to inspect Canadian combo bins, FAS spokesman Matthew Herrick told Meatingplace.

"On our end, we certainly hope to come to some sort of conclusion that will allow our exporters to continue to use the same shipping methods they've been able to use for the last dozen years, and we're going to continue these conversations with the assistance of Canada to reach a conclusion that is comfortable to both sides," he said.

Mr Herrick said Mexico's rules would force US meat exporters to make significant changes to their shipping methods and raise shipping costs, which would translate into higher prices.