Migrants, trapped in ‘open-air prison’ by U.S. policy pick the mangoes we love
In 2019 President Donald Trump threatened to levy a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods unless the country agreed to beef up its immigration enforcement. Mexico acquiesced and deployed troops along its southern border with Guatemala, limiting the free movement of migrants. As a result, countless people have been trapped in Tapachula, a sprawling border town, in what the international press has described as an “open-air prison.”
U.S. calls for consultations with Mexico over GMO corn ban
The United States asked for technical consultations with Mexico over its agricultural biotechnology policy on Monday, the first formal step toward a challenge under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement. Mexico, the leading customer for U.S. corn exports, said in mid-February that it would ban entry of GMO corn used in making tortillas but accept GMO corn intended for livestock feed and industrial processors.
USDA ‘disappointed’ by revised Mexico corn ban
In a step to defuse trade tensions with the United States, Mexico removed a looming ban on most imports of GMO corn and said it would only block genetically modified corn that would be used in making tortillas. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday the USDA was dissatisfied by the revisions.
U.S. rejects Mexico proposals on GMO corn trade
Mexico has failed to satisfy the "grave concerns" of the United States over a potential ban on imports of U.S.-grown GMO corn said trade officials after negotiations in Mexico City on Monday. "We made it clear today that if this issue is not resolved, we will consider all options, including taking formal steps to enforce our rights under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.”
U.S. shrugs at Mexico claim of accord on GMO corn
Biden administration officials refused to say more than that they were studying potential resolutions to a blossoming dispute over GMO corn exports on Wednesday, although Mexico’s agriculture minister said an informal agreement already existed. Minister Victor Villalobos claimed U.S. officials were satisfied with a proposal to delay a ban on the import of GMO corn until 2025, according to a published report.
Revise GMO corn decree or face U.S. challenge, Vilsack warns Mexico
Ahead of a visit by Mexican government leaders, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Thursday that the Biden administration was ready to challenge Mexico under North American trade rules unless it “rectifies” a presidential decree that would ban imports of genetically modified corn at the start of 2024.
U.S. will ‘stem the onslaught’ of unfair Mexican vegetable imports, say Florida growers
The Biden administration will address Mexico's trade practices although it will not open a formal investigation into unfair government support of the produce industry, said the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association on Sunday.
A huge bed of pricey scallops couldn’t save a Mexican fishing village
“In Teacapán, a small fishing village on the coast of Sinaloa, Mexico, Belen Delgado made a discovery that would change his life and the lives of everyone he knew,” reports Esther Honig in FERN’s latest story, in partnership with the podcast Snap Judgment.
U.S. food prices insulated from warfare in Ukraine, says Vilsack
The Russian invasion of Ukraine will have, at most, a muted effect on U.S. food prices, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. “We have tremendous (domestic) production capacity,” he told reporters attending the USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum.
North America can lead the world on climate mitigation, says Vilsack
The agriculture ministers of Canada, Mexico, and the United States described national initiatives to boost productivity and slow global warming at the World Food Prize symposium on Thursday, with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack saying, "There's a tremendous opportunity for North America to lead the world." While he called for being tolerant of different approaches to climate mitigation, Vilsack was clear that in his view, the U.S. high-technology approach is the best.
It’s early, but China is No. 1 buyer of U.S. corn
Thanks to a buying spree, China is far and away the top customer for U.S. corn six weeks into the marketing year, said chief executive Ryan LeGrand of the U.S. Grains Council on Thursday. Its purchases of 10.4 million tonnes for delivery during 2020/21 are twice as large as sales to date to Mexico, usually the No. 1 importer.
U.S. and Mexico broaden food safety partnership
Food regulators from Mexico and the United States issued a statement of intent on Monday to expand a six-year-old partnership on food safety to cover all of the human food regulated by the FDA. Mexico is a leader in food trade with the United States; about one-third of all the food imported …
Feds investigating after H-2A worker died of Covid-19 complications at a Texas potato plant
Marco Antonio Galvan Gomez, a 48-year-old husband and father from Guanajuato, Mexico, had worked eight years on a seasonal visa at Larsen Farms, one of the biggest potato producers in the nation, when he died of complications related to Covid-19 on July 20. He had spent the previous 12 days struggling to keep working despite suffering from fever, aches and shortness of breath; Larsen officials denied his request to return home to Mexico, and Galvan got no medical treatment from local health officials, according to FERN's latest story, published with Texas Observer. (No paywall)
U.S. ag exports to China on the rise, but not at ‘phase one’ pace
China is stepping up its purchases of U.S. farm exports, but it will not meet the ambitious sales goals of the "phase one" agreement that de-escalated the Sino-U.S. trade war, said USDA data on Wednesday. In a quarterly forecast, USDA analysts said China, the farm sector's No. 1 customer before the trade war, will remain locked in third place as an export destination in 2021, behind Canada and Mexico.
Maybe we should cut off cattle imports, says Trump
The United States “should look at the possibility of terminating” trade agreements that allow cattle imports into the country, said President Trump on Tuesday — a suggestion that would almost solely affect Canada and Mexico, partners in the USMCA. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said …
U.S. embassy and consulates in Mexico to shut down, threatening labor supply for American farms
American farmers are bracing for major delays in the arrival of workers through the H-2A visa program after U.S. officials announced late Monday that the embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. consulates in Mexico will close, effective March 18, due to health and safety concerns caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Officials at the embassy did not say when the facilities might reopen. The H-2A program brings some 200,000 foreign workers to U.S. farms each year.(No paywall)
Voluntary, not mandatory, meat-origin labels, says Perdue
Despite interest among cattle activists, a return to mandatory country-of-origin labels on beef "is not going to happen unless we want to do a billion-dollar litigation damage with Mexico and Canada," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday.
Senate to give Trump a trade victory days before impeachment trial
In a sudden legislative speed-up, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday the Senate will pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement before the end of this week, a trade victory for President Trump days before an impeachment trial begins. The “new NAFTA” would bring modest …