May 24, 2019 / 6:37 PM / 4 months ago

Mexico raises chicken import quota to avoid supply shortage

FILE PHOTO: Butchers cut up chickens in a butcher shop in downtown Mexico City, Mexico, July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Mexican government increased its tariff-free chicken import quota by 55,000 tons on Friday due to crimped domestic production amid avian flu outbreaks.

The announcement was made in the Mexican government’s official gazette, which cited confirmed cases of avian flu in about two-thirds of the country’s states.

While boosting overall imports, Mexico also banned chicken product imports from several U.S. counties, citing a reported outbreak of Newcastle disease.

“In order to avoid a shortage ... it is advisable to keep external supply options open and expand the quota amount for imports of fresh, refrigerated and frozen chicken meat,” the economy ministry said in the official gazette.

The United States has traditionally been Mexico’s biggest foreign chicken supplier.

Under the new quota, buyers can import fresh, refrigerated or frozen chicken meat, including legs and thighs, which are especially in high demand by Mexican consumers.

Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Editing by Tom Brown

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