USDA efforts lift ban on poultry exports to Colombia

Colombia concerned about possible HPAI spread
calendar icon 30 June 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Quick action by FAS, USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has resolved an issue that temporarily stopped US poultry product exports to Colombia, the country's 10th largest market for these products, according to a government-issued press release.

Colombia’s Ministry of Agriculture instructed all Colombian ports to deny import permits to any poultry products beginning June 1 on concerns of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Roughly $1.1 million in US exports were impacted by the ban between June 3 and June 8.

FAS, APHIS, and USTR joined forces to leverage our free trade agreement to pressure Colombian officials to lift the ban. In parallel, USDA staff in Colombia directed US companies, Colombian importers, local trade associations, and State Department Economic officials to communicate the impact of the ban on bilateral relations with Colombia’s Ministries of Agriculture and Trade.

These cooperative efforts brought a reversal on the ban to fruition on June 8. Colombia’s resumption of issuing import permits recognized the 2012 regionalization agreement side-letter between USTR and the Colombian government, which established provisions for mitigating the spread of HPAI.

The denial of these import licenses, stuck shipments of US poultry, and the uncertainty of market access directly impacted consumers and American businesses. Tyson Foods, PriceSmart, and McDonald’s were some of the main companies that were affected by the ban along with larger Colombian importers, such as Nestlé – Colombia.

Government officials and local importers worked tirelessly to deliver results immediately, which built a compelling case to the Colombian government. This team effort ensured that the United States recovered a market that accounted for more than $100 million in 2022.

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