Mexican meat, to conquer Russian, Arab and Chinese palates

By Elliot Bullman

In the search to diversify and open new markets

Given the possible exit of the EU from NAFTA, Mexican beef producers are preparing a strategy that will save them from a direct impact on exports.

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Mexican meat producers will send their cuts to the shelves of Arab, Russian and Chinese supermarkets to be delighted by millionaires, sheikhs and oil tankers, a market strategy that will save them from a possible departure from the United States, raised by Donald Trump Of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

"We are planning to arrive in the Middle East this year, in fact the first meat samples have already been sent to Qatar and we are working to send them to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait," said Rogelio Pérez Sánchez, CEO of the Mexican Association Of Mexican Beef (Mexican Beef).

If NAFTA is terminated as proposed by President Donald Trump there would be a direct impact on meat exports, "but to not have it we are looking for new markets such as Russian and Arabic," Forbes says.

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Currently, there are six companies that comply with the Halal certification, which together represent 92% of the exportable meat supply in Mexico, explains the entrepreneur.

The Halal certification is obtained by complying with the rules established by the Qur'an in terms of food consumption. As a result, the National Health, Safety and Agro-Food Quality Service (Senasica) participates in the revision of protocols that supervise from the origin of cattle to Storage of meat products.

The Koran forbids eating the meat of the animal that has died of natural death, blood, pork and animal sacrifices in the name of another than Allah; Nevertheless, whoever is obliged to do it against his will and without seeking an act of disobedience in it, will not be lacking.

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"We are working with the health part, which is very important to get, but we already have the most important thing is the Halal certification," he recalls.

Mexican companies are allocating one million pesos to obtain Halal certification and phytosanitary records.

At the moment, phytosanitary adjustments are being made so that meat can be sent to Arab countries in a maximum of three and four months, says Pérez Sánchez.

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Once the Muslim markets are open we would be exporting 20,000 tons of meat each year, which represents 100 million dollars, says the director of the agency whose sales in 2016 abroad totaled 1,140 million dollars. That meant an increase of 0.6%, compared to 2015.

Mexican meat exporters sent more than 194,147 tonnes of food last year to the United States, Japan, Canada and Hong Kong. Being to the American market where they export 90% of all bovine products.

Russia, a difficult market

To depend less on the United States, a nation whose president has criticized Mexican exports, seek to strengthen exports to Japan and work to increase participation in Canada, says Rogelio Perez.

"China and Russia are markets that we are interested in venturing into. At the moment, the Russian market is not open, as there is a restriction, "said the CEO of the Association.

"We are thinking that the Arab countries are a market of 20,000 tons and 100 million dollars, but Russia in 2013 represented 20.00 tons of meat and 100 million dollars of income," he estimates.

A country like Russia represents the volume that we were already exporting and we were planning to export to the Arabian Peninsula.

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From Mexico to the world

In August 2016, 2 600 tonnes of chickpeas were shipped from the port of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, for shipment to and from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates: "With the initiation of actions to increase Mexican agri-food trade In that region of the world, "according to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA).

The goal of Mexico is to achieve exports of agave honey, dates, beef, fruits and vegetables, among other agricultural products to the Arab countries for 1,000 million dollars in the coming years, ensures the dependence of José Calzada Rovirosa.

The CEO of the Mexican Association of Meat Exporters says that the government and entrepreneurs not only open the front for renegotiation of NAFTA, "but at the moment there is a renegotiation of trade agreements with the European Union."

"We are focused on the NAFTA for what they represent for the Mexican economy, business and commerce.

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