Trump Has Come to See Nafta’s Benefits, Agriculture Secretary Says

01/17/2018 Bloomberg

pexels-photo-175389.jpegPresident Donald Trump has come to see that Nafta has some benefits to the U.S., particularly for farming, even as he stays firm in his demand for a new deal, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said.

Trump “probably left the campaign trail literally believing that Nafta had not been good for any sector of the economy,” Perdue said in an interview at his office on Wednesday in Washington. But “I think that he has now come to realize that agriculture has been benefited by a Nafta agreement.”

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Trump loves farmers but keeps them guessing on NAFTA strategy

01/08/2018 Politico

corn farmPresident Donald Trump on Monday delivered a campaign-style speech to thousands of farmers that largely dodged one of the most pressing concerns in agriculture — whether Trump intends to blow up the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Farm leaders have lobbied the administration and pleaded with the president to tread carefully in the ongoing renegotiation of the free-trade agreement with Canada and Mexico because the agricultural sector has arguably more to lose than any other segment of the economy if trade relations sour in North America.

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Farmers in Mexico’s avocado heartland are relying on vigilantes to protect their ‘green gold’

12/6/2017 Business Insider

AvocadosGlobal demand for avocados has grown considerably in recent years, and Mexican farmers have been a major beneficiary, declaring the crop “green gold.”

Mexico produces about 45% of the world’s avocados, and the western state of Michoacan is the country’s top producer. But Michoacan has also been a locus for organized crime, and the state’s residents have suffered as criminal groups overwhelmed and corrupted authorities.

Vigilantes, called self-defense groups or autodefensas, cropped up in the state to fight off criminal groups when local and federal authorities were unable or unwilling to do so.

Many of those autodefensas have been dismantled by the government or co-opted by criminal groups. But in the municipality of Tancitaro — home to 30,000 people in western Michoacan — residents set up their own specialized police force: the Tancitaro Public Security Corps.

Many Mexicans consider Tancitaro to be the “authentic” world capital of avocados.

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Top U.S. Farm Group Warns Against Upending Nafta

10/10/2017 Bloomberg

corn farmThe head of the top U.S. agriculture group said farmers want “a seat at the table” in trade talks to prevent a collapse of deals that would harm their exports, joining the nation’s biggest business lobby in warning against upending the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“We can’t sit aside while other countries work out trade deals among themselves,” Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, said in a conference call announcing the group is joining of Farmers for Free Trade, an umbrella group of agricultural organizations and agribusiness promoting exports.

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American retailers, restaurants oppose U.S. NAFTA produce proposal

08/31/2017 Reuters

NAFTA_logoWASHINGTON (Reuters) – American retail, restaurant and agriculture groups weighed in on Thursday against a U.S. NAFTA modernization proposal that could pave the way for U.S. seasonal produce growers to file anti-dumping cases against Mexico, according to letters sent to Trump administration officials.

Talks to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement resume this weekend in Mexico, the second round after U.S. President Donald Trump’s renewed threats to withdraw from one of the world’s biggest trade blocs.

In one letter seen by Reuters, sent to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday, retailers argued that the U.S. proposal to allow more complaints about the dumping of perishable produce would have “dangerous implications for U.S. businesses and consumers.”

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Elderly Mexican villagers cling to town, fight plans to flood land

08/22/2017 Reuters

jaliscoTEMACAPULÍN, Mexico (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Abigail Agredano fears her 96-year-old mother would not survive being uprooted from their hometown in the highlands of western Mexico, where its 400 mostly elderly residents are battling a government plan to dam the nearby Río Verde.

“If they manage to force us out, I think she and many others would die immediately,” Agredano, head of the Committee to Save Temacapulín, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Damming the Río Verde would supply water for major urban areas in the state of Jalisco and neighboring Guanajuato but leave Temacapulín and the smaller villages of Palmajero and Acasico underwater.

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Mexico No Longer No. 1 Buyer of U.S. Corn After Trade Tensions

7/6/2017 Bloomberg

corn by World Bank Photo Collection
Photo by World Bank Photo Collection

U.S. corn shipments to Mexico are faltering and the country is no longer the biggest importer, a sign that trade tensions are driving it into the arms of other suppliers.

Sales to Mexico through May were $1.04 billion, down 6.7 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a monthly update. That contrasts with the 32 percent increase for the overall value of U.S. corn exports in the period, during which the average dollar value of the commodity was little changed. Japan boosted its purchases 53 percent to $1.19 billion to become the largest importer of American corn.

Mexico has initiated talks with other major corn exporters this year after it was criticized by President Donald Trump, who said the country has taken advantage of its northern neighbor through the North American Free Trade Agreement, taking away jobs and investment. The dispute helped to send the Mexican peso to a record low against the dollar in January.

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