USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the department reached agreements allowing US beef and pork producers greater access to consumers in Mexico and Peru.

Announced last week, the agreements allow US producers to export slaughter cattle to Mexico and expand access to consumer markets in Peru for US fresh and chilled pork, according to USDA

“Our priority at USDA is not only to open or reopen markets for our producers, but to help drive US economic growth through trade by supporting and creating American jobs on and off the farm,” says Vilsack. “Mexico is an important market for US cattle producers, with the potential to import $15 million of live US cattle per year and we expect Peru's market could generate $5 million annually in additional pork sales.”

The agreement with Mexico is effective immediately and allows for the export of slaughter cattle to America’s southern neighbor for the first time in over a decade. USDA has worked with Mexico since 2008 to reopen this market, but was only finalized last week. Similarly, USDA conducted extensive negotiations with Peru's Servicio National De Sanidad Agraria (SENASA) since 2012 to expand access for US fresh, chilled pork and pork products. USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service export library will be updated to the new export requirements for these pork and pork products exports.

“More than one million people go to work every day thanks to exports of American-grown products,” Vilsack said. “Expanded US agricultural exports mean more new jobs, but our farmers and ranchers will miss out on new markets for American products if Congress doesn't act on Trade Promotion Authority early this year and if we don't continue to build support for a Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asian nations.”

USDA will continue to work on eliminating any remaining trade barriers to US cattle and cattle products as a result of previous detections of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).