U.S. Beef Gains Access to Morocco and Tunisia

Effective Nov. 30, 2018, U.S. beef and beef products are eligible for export to Morocco.

The United States has a free trade agreement with Morocco and can therefore export beef at zero duty, within tariff rate quotas. The duty-free quota volume for USDA Choice or Prime beef cuts is 6,404 metric tons (mt) for this year and 6,660 mt in 2019. The quota volume for other beef cuts and variety meat is 2,343 mt this year and 2,390 mt in 2019.

All duties on U.S. beef will be phased to zero by 2023, but Morocco’s out-of-quota duties can be as high as 275 percent. Therefore, U.S. beef should have an advantage over competitors. Through September, Morocco’s 2018 beef imports were mainly from the European Union (1,894 mt, +10 percent year-over-year, mostly frozen boneless beef, valued at $9.8 million), Argentina (680 mt, -70 percent, mostly frozen bone-in and boneless beef, valued at $2.9 million) and Brazil (207 mt, -11 percent, mostly frozen boneless beef, valued at $900,000). The EU is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with Morocco.

In April 2019, USTR and USDA announced that Tunisia is now open to U.S. beef.

All federally inspected plants are eligible to export to Tunisia. Halal certification is not required for export to Tunisia, but it is likely that most product requests will be for halal-certified beef.

Last year the European Union reported beef/beef variety exports to Tunisia of 2,836 metric tons (mt) valued at $11 million, which mainly consisted of chilled beef and livers. Brazil’s exports totaled 1,518 mt valued at $5.5 million, mainly frozen beef cuts. Small volumes were also reported by New Zealand, Canada and India. Tunisia’s import duty rate for all beef items is 36%.