USA requests fewer restrictions on cheese imports to Mexico

The U.S. government requested fewer restrictions on cheese imports to Mexico related to an Official Mexican Standard (NOM).

Emphatically the United States made this request in the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), highlighting Mexico’s inaction.

The case relates to the Procedure for conformity assessment of NOM-223-SCFI/Sagarpa -2018, «Cheese-denomination, specifications, commercial information and test methods,» published on January 31, 2019.

On this point, the U.S. government said that this is the third year that the issue has been brought before the WTO. 

Given that Mexico is the largest destination for U.S. cheese exports, the issue is salient for the complainant.

From January to March 2024, Mexican cheese imports from the U.S. were $199 million, a year-over-year increase of 15.6%, according to Commerce Department data.

So far, the U.S. remains very concerned about the revised measure. 

Cheese imports

Therefore, the United States asked the following questions: Could Mexico please indicate when it will respond to WTO Members’ comments, and could it also provide an update on the status of this measure and an estimate of when the revised measure will be notified to the WTO? 

Mexican cheese imports from the United States rose from US$248 million in 2020 to US$459 million in 2021.

They also grew in the following two years: to $628 million in 2022 and $727 million in 2023.

The United States is concerned that Mexico’s measure may conflict with the ongoing redrafting of the corresponding cheese standard. 


Another of their questions: How will Mexico harmonize the update of the NOM-223 cheese standard with the conformity assessment procedure for cheese under NOM-223, notified to the WTO on February 8, 2022? 

And finally: Has Mexico considered the possibility of finally extending the deadline for the application of the measure for a period of 12 months or more? 

Conversely, Mexico’s cheese exports to its northern neighbor were US$10 million in the first quarter of 2024, reflecting a 19% increase at an annual rate.


Redacción Opportimes