U.S. authorities have cleared the import of fresh Brazilian beef and pork from the state of Santa Catarina, local pork producers and exporters association Abipecs said on Tuesday.
Shares of Smithfield Foods Inc., the top U.S. pork producer, jumped as much as 8.3% Tuesday on speculation the company may be a takeover target for Brazil-based meat processor JBS S.A. A report in the Brazilian publication Valor Economico, citing market sources said JBS may seek discussions over an acquisition with Smithfield.
Over the past three years, JBS spent more than 2.7 billion US dollars on U.S. acquisitions in beef, pork and poultry. JBS paid 1.4 billion USD for beef and pork processor Swift & Co. in 2007 and, in 2008, purchased Smithfield's cattle feeding and beef operations for 565 million USD.
Last year, JBS paid 800 million USD for a majority stake in Texas-based chicken processor Pilgrim's Pride Corp.
An ad hoc coalition, which includes the National Pork Producers Council and 140 other business, manufacturing, food and agricultural organisations, have sent a letter (below) to President Obama urging him to quickly resolve a dispute with Mexico over allowing its trucks to transport goods into the United States.
NPPC supports Mexico trucking coalition
Mexican trucks now are prohibited from entering the United States despite a North American Free Trade Agreement provision that called for allowing them starting in December 1995 and a February 2001 NAFTA dispute-settlement panel ruling that excluding Mexican trucks violated US obligations under the trade deal. Mexico recently retaliated against a host of US goods, raising tariffs on a number of products.
“We need to get this trucking issue resolved,” said NPPC President Don Butler, “because, although US pork products were not included on the retaliation list, they could be in the future, and, more importantly, our trading partners need assurance that the United States will live up its trade obligations.”
Dear Mr. President,
Due to the termination of the US Department of Transportation’s Cross Border Trucking Pilot Program with Mexico, the United States is now in violation of its bilateral trade obligations with Mexico on international trucking. On March 19, the Mexican government instituted retaliatory tariffs on $2.4 billion worth of US manufactured and agricultural exports. The undersigned agricultural, manufacturing and services companies and associations urge you to work expeditiously to resolve this dispute and ensure the United States is upholding its bilateral trade obligations with Mexico.
Mexico is a top market for US exports, providing millions of jobs to US workers. The retaliation is already impacting the ability of a broad range of US goods to compete in the Mexican market, from potatoes and sunscreen to paper and dishwashers. The retaliation measures have the potential to shut out the targeted US products providing an opportunity for our foreign competitors to fill that void and establish themselves as the significant suppliers to Mexico. Over $1.5 billion in US manufactured products and $900 million in US agriculture products are impacted by the retaliatory tariffs. The retaliation puts over 12,000 agricultural and 14,000 manufacturing jobs at risk.
Mr. President, we strongly urge you to work with Congress and quickly resolve the Mexican trucking issue to end retaliatory tariffs. Until this issue is resolved, Mexico’s retaliation will continue to economically harm US farmers, manufacturers and service providers and those who work in these industries. This is something our country cannot afford.