The staff of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) at the United States Embassy in Mexico City, in conjunction with our colleagues at the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Mexico office, represent the interests of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Mexico. The APHIS office plays a unique role in both the protection of U.S. agriculture and in the facilitation of safe trade between both countries.
Growing agricultural trade between the United States and Mexico has created a vital role for APHIS ensuring that new trade opportunities are realized and that existing trade between the two economies flows smoothly. The APHIS Mexico City office maintains technical working relationships with our Mexican counterparts to resolve Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues whenever they arise.
In addition, our office maintains direct contact with industry trade groups. This relationship contributes to maintaining the success of agricultural trade-related commercial activities between the two economies, helping ensure that they thrive. For example, APHIS provides certification at origin of a large number of Mexican commodities exported to the U.S., seeks to expand and maintain market access for U.S. agricultural products and also intervenes directly for shipments detained at Mexican ports of entry.
A principle role of APHIS is to make sure the United States and our trading partners adhere to the SPS rules set forth by the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as the other relevant international standards-setting organizations, APHIS' role will continue to increase as the United States and Mexico continue to expand their current trade relationships and establish new partnerships into the foreseeable future.
A final but critical function of our APHIS office is to help protect U.S. agriculture from the establishment and/or spread of harmful plant pests and animal diseases where our office works in close cooperation with our Mexican plant and animal health counterparts and key industry groups in a number of areas of mutual interest and benefit. Because of a long, shared common border with similar agricultural production, climatic and environmental factors, the two countries have demonstrated a very successful history of working collaboratively since the 1940's with the eradication of Foot and Mouth Disease in livestock. More recently, both sides collaborate on fruit fly control and eradication, cotton pest eradication and in Citrus Greening disease monitoring and through the development of control strategies. On the animal side, APHIS cooperates in providing technical assistance and enhanced diagnostics of foreign animal diseases such as High Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Classical Swine Fever including the control of bovine tuberculosis and cattle fever ticks in livestock and with efforts to control rabies in wildlife.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is a multifaceted Agency with a broad mission area that includes protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, regulating genetically engineered organisms, administering the Animal Welfare Act and carrying out wildlife damage management activities. These efforts support the overall mission of USDA, which is to protect and promote food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues.
Lou Vanechanos, Regional Manager
Countries of Responsibility: Mexico
Nov. 7, 2017 - On September 13-14, APHIS met with counterparts in Mexico’s Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASICA) to address access issues for animal products. Key Mexican export related requests were related to Classical Swine Fever Recognition and next steps, pet chews, streamlining the export process, and communication issues in general. While in Mexico, the APHIS team also was able to confirm that SENASICA can start exporting certain ruminant products as APHIS had updated its webpage to officially recognize Mexico as negligible risk for BSE. The U.S. had several key requests, including requesting removal of Avian Influenza restrictions on Tennessee, an update on regulation restricting access for ruminant meals, and clarifying certifications requirements for Puerto Rico, among others.
June 15, 2017 - While vampire bats have no presence in the United States yet, their ability to carry the rabies virus and cross borders, and their presence in Mexico, makes them a threat to U.S. cattle and other domestic productive species, including sheep, horses, pigs, dogs, cats, and wildlife. Damage to livestock potentially can run into the millions of dollars.
Evidence that vampire bats are moving north and will eventually enter the United States calls for close collaboration between American authorities and their Mexican counterparts to counter the potential threat. As part of these efforts, from March 20th to 24th, 2017, staff from International Services (IS)’s Mexico City office coordinated the attendance of specialists from APHIS Wildlife Services (WS) in Arizona and Mexico City, the University of Arizona, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Colorado at a workshop in Campeche, Mexico organized by the Mexico’s agricultural and food safety agencies, SENASICA (National Agro-Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality) and SAGARPA (State Agency of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food).
During this event, the visitors learned about the importance and impact of the campaign against paralytic rabies transmitted by vampire bats to cattle and other domesticanimals, including goats, sheep, horses, and pigs. A technical meeting was also held to review the status of the vampire bat rabies problem in Mexico’s Campeche state, as well as the physical and behavioral characteristics of the vampire bats and the management activities developed in Mexico to reduce their impact in the animal and public health.
The participants visited two caves, which are the bats’ natural refuge, and conducted two field activities to trap and treat vampire bats in corrals. All the goals for this training were reached according with the agenda and all participants agreed that this kind of training is very useful for the APHIS field staff that could be responsible for controlling this problem and ensuring the safeguarding and security of U.S. agricultural resources in the future in the United States.