“Faltering trust between trading partners on both sides of the border” may be slowing U.S. farm exports to Mexico as the nations prepare to renegotiate NAFTA , says Farm Futures. It says that U.S. exports of corn, soybeans and chicken meat to Mexico declined during the first four months of this year, a period when the new Trump administration floated the idea of a border tax and when U.S.-Mexico relations soured.
Mexico is the No. 3 customer worldwide for U.S. farm exports and is No. 1 in purchases of U.S. corn, sobyeans and chicken meat. Mexican companies investigated imports from South America as a backup source in case of a disruption in U.S. supplies. If Mexico makes large-scale purchases from U.S. competitors, “it could have a major effect not only on prices for U.S. goods but stocks as well,” says Farm Futures.
Raúl Urteaga Trani, general coordinator for international affairs for Mexico’s Secretariat of Agriculture, encouraged Mexican companies to establish new trading partners prior to NAFTA talks, says Farm Futures. It quotes Urteaga as saying, ““We needed to send a clear message to Washington that in Mexico we are not sitting still and waiting for NAFTA talks but are moving forward to make certain we have an uninterrupted supply of the agricultural products we need.”
Farm groups have urged the Trump administration to avoid disruptions in ag trade while revamping NAFTA. Talks could begin as early as mid-August.