The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) hopes to resolve a trade dispute with Mexican producers after a meeting in Mexico City. 

USAPEEC presented its preliminary proposals to resolve a complaint of alleged dumping by Industrias Bachoco — Mexico’s largest poultry producer — and two smaller companies at a meeting Tuesday called by the Unit of International Trade Practices (UPCI) of the Mexican Economy Secretariat (Economia).  UPCI called the meeting after numerous requests by USAPEEC.

“We are trying to come up with a proposal that encourages the petitioners and UPCI to dismiss the case, even though we are assured that no dumping has taken place,” USAPEEC said in a statement.  The statement described the meeting in Mexico City as “a rare conciliatory hearing.”  The session was the first face-to-face meeting of Mexican petitioners and the U.S. industry.

While conciliatory hearings are allowed by Mexican trade law, the last one was held about ten years ago and was also the first.

UPCI chief Hugo Perezcano asked USAPEEC, working with the Mexican Poultry Producers Association, and the NAFTA Egg & Poultry Partnership, to fine-tune its proposal for submission by September 14.  Bachoco will have until September 30 to respond with the hope of reaching a consensus by October 7, USAPEEC said.

At the hearing, USAPEEC presented a wide-ranging proposal aimed at preventing trade disruptions while addressing the concerns of the Mexican government and poultry producers.

“Our legal team is quite pleased with the results of [the] hearing,” USAPEEC President Jim Sumner said in the press statement. “We accomplished everything we had hoped for, and more. We look at the conciliatory hearing as the beginning of the process to start our discussions with the petitioners to develop a workable settlement.”

Perezcano also said that UPCI would extend the conciliatory hearing process, encouraging both sides to continue working toward a settlement, USAPEEC said.  USAPEEC also noted that Perezcano added that the agency would continue its investigation irrespective of the conciliatory process.

Meanwhile, in a separate announcement on Tuesday, Perezcano said that UPCI would publish its preliminary determination in the investigation on September 30.  This will provide the first real indication of how seriously the Mexican government takes the allegations of the petitioners, USAPEEC said.  The preliminary determination will address three key issues – whether there was “injury” to the petitioners, whether there was dumping, and whether interim duties will be assessed on U.S. companies exporting leg quarters to Mexico.