Home Economy Agriculture Ministry: US Poultry Imports to Morocco Must Be Halal

Agriculture Ministry: US Poultry Imports to Morocco Must Be Halal

FILE PHOTO: Chickens feed from a row of feed bins at C&A Farms in Fairmont, North Carolina, U.S. June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Randall Hill/File Photo
REUTERS/Randall Hill/File Photo

Rabat – Following the recent free trade agreement allowing imports of US poultry, Morocco’s agriculture ministry stated its conditions on poultry imports.

Imports of poultry meat and poultry products from the US concern only frozen products and must be accompanied by a halal slaughter certificate and a health certificate, the Ministry of Agriculture and Maritime Fisheries said Tuesday, August 7, in a statement.

The US Trade Representative (USTR) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on August 7 that the Moroccan government had agreed “to allow commercial imports of U.S. poultry meat and products into Morocco for the first time.”

The ministry indicated that the agreement is not new. It is a follow-up of the implementation of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Morocco and the US signed June 15, 2004, and effective since January 1, 2006.

The Moroccan department of agriculture and the USTR reached an agreement in May on the content of the health certificate which must accompany any poultry imports from the US, according to the statement.

Morocco’s conditions on US poultry imports

The Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture issued a notice Monday, July 6, for interested importers of US poultry meat and poultry products.

Poultry must have a certificate to certify that the animals were slaughtered in accordance with Islamic halal religious requirements.

According to the ministry’s notice, the poultry must also have a health certificate in “accord with a valid model provided by mutual agreement between the Moroccan National Health Security Office of Food (ONSSA) and the competent US authorities.”

The ministry also set specific regulations for labelling and packaging. Bulk packaging of imported poultry should be labelled with a halal logo on the outside of the box. As for retail packaging, each bundle must be packaged separately and labeled with a halal logo placed by the production facility of origin.

First come first served

The imports will be subject to tariff rate quotas (TRQs) which entered into effect July 6.

The ministry specified that certain quantities of US imported poultry and poultry products will benefit from preferential tariff advantages until December 31, 2018.

“The concerned TRQs will be distributed according to the principle of first come first served (PVPS), borne by the Administration of Customs and Indirect Taxes (ADII).”

The total quantity of chickens and turkeys subject to tariff advantages is limited to 2,450 tons while the quantity of poultry thighs and wings is fixed at 6,400 tons. For other poultry meat, which are “frozen and boned but not mechanically boned,” the total quantity is limited to 135 tons.

All mentioned quantities will have a preferential rate of 0 percent in accordance with the “first come first served” principle. For quota-free imports, the preferential tariff is 82 percent for chickens and turkeys and other poultry meats, and 106 percent for poultry thighs and wings.

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