Mexico sugar industry warns U.S. tough line sets bad NAFTA precedent

5/9/2017 Reuters

Flickr/Daniel Barrientos

A tough U.S. proposal on bilateral sugar trade with Mexico sets a bad precedent for an impending renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the head of Mexico’s sugar chamber, Juan Cortina, said on Tuesday.

The U.S. sugar industry pressed the Commerce Department late last year to withdraw from a 2014 trade agreement that sets prices and quota for U.S. imports of Mexican sugar unless the deal could be renegotiated.

Cortina warned that the new proposal for modifying the 2014 agreement, which seeks to increase minimum prices for refined Mexican sugar and adjust quality requirements, would essentially push Mexican exporters out of the U.S. market.

“This is a very bad precedent for upcoming (NAFTA) negotiations if we can’t reach an agreement,” said Cortina.

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Mexico Flies to Argentina as Trump Stirs Nafta Uncertainty

5/5/2017 Bloomberg

ArgentinaMexican government officials and executives from 16 industry groups will travel to Argentina and Brazil next week as the country aims to close out deals for new supplies of yellow corn and other grains amid fears that U.S. President Donald Trump will tinker the North American Free-Trade Agreement.

The trade delegation leaves this weekend for Buenos Aires, where it will spend three days, and then head to Sao Paulo, where it will hold talks for another two days, Raul Urteaga, the Mexican Agriculture Ministry’s coordinator of international affairs, said in a phone interview.

“We are going to negotiate prices and contracts for supplies of yellow corn, soybeans, wheat and rice as a viable alternative to U.S. imports,” Urteaga said. “This is all because of the persistent rhetoric and threats from Washington.”

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Mexico reports H7N3 bird flu outbreak on commercial farm: OIE

5/4/2017 Reuters

poultrychickensMexico has reported an outbreak of the highly contagious H7N3 bird flu virus on a commercial farm in the state of Jalisco, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Thursday, citing a report from Mexico’s agriculture ministry.

The virus, which does not pose a serious danger to people, was detected among laying hens in a flock of 15,000 birds that had been vaccinated and did not show any clinical signs of the disease, the Paris-based OIE said in a notification.

The farm, located in the town of Tepatitlan de Morelos, is under quarantine and the birds have been sent to a slaughterhouse near the site, it said.

Mexico’s agriculture sanitation authority, SENASICA, said the outbreak occurred in the same area where the virus was detected in 2012 and was discovered as part of a supervision program aimed at freeing the country of the disease.

Mexico is a major chicken exporter.

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U.S. Commerce chief extends Mexico sugar deadline, sees impasse

5/2/2017 Reuters

Flickr/Coralie Ferreira

The Mexican and U.S. governments have agreed to extend the deadline for negotiations over a sugar trade agreement to June 5, with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross saying late Monday the talks were “at an impasse.”

In a statement, Ross said the Commerce Department notified Mexico’s government that the United States intended to resume collection of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on sugar imports starting June 5 unless an agreement is reached.

“While I regret that such measures were needed, it is my hope that Mexico and the United States can reach a fair agreement before June,” Ross said.

The orders were suspended, pending negotiations as a May 1 deadline passed.

Mexico’s economy ministry, the country’s top trade authority, weighed in late Monday with a statement that put the blame for the impasse squarely on the U.S. side.

“Excessive demands from U.S. producers and refiners have impeded the ability to reach a solution,” the ministry said, adding that U.S. negotiators continued to press for limits on Mexican raw sugar exports for U.S. refiners as well as ending “all competition” from Mexican refined sugar in the U.S. market.

The ministry said however it remained open to reaching a negotiated agreement.

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America’s $1.2 Billion Mexico Milk Trade Is Now at Risk

4/26/2017 Bloomberg

The biggest U.S. dairy importer is talking with New Zealand and buying more from the EU. Guess why.

With a tweet on Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump told Wisconsin dairy farmers—and the world—that America “will not stand for” the Canadian policies he says are hurting U.S. exports:


But his next tweet might have hurt those farmers even more:


Even as the Trump administration jousts with Canada over its latest trade dispute, it might want to keep a closer eye on Mexico, America’s No. 1 one dairy importer. Its southern neighbor, which figures prominently in the U.S. government’s crime and immigration rhetoric, spent almost twice as much money as Canada did on U.S. dairy in 2016. That’s $1.2 billion.

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In Mexico, Fears a New Plant Will Kill Wastewater Farming

4/24/2017 New York Times

sewerTEPATEPEC, Mexico — For more than 100 years, most of what gets flushed down Mexico City’s toilets has resurfaced two hours to the north in the rivers and reservoirs of the rural Mezquital Valley. A massive new water treatment plant is about to change this.

But rather than welcoming the prospect of cleaner water, angry farmers are demanding the government honor an 1895 presidential decree granting them the right to the capital’s untreated sewage, which they see as fertilizer-rich, if foul, irrigation water.

It’s a standoff that pits public health concerns — not just for valley residents but for the Mexicans elsewhere who eat the crops — against fears that family farms will go under if they lose access to the raw sewage after the $530 million Atotonilco plant in Hidalgo state, billed as the largest of its kind in Latin America, goes online.

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Reshaping NAFTA could be good for Mexico’s economy

4/18/2017 United Press International

Flickr/Douglas Sprott

Among other threats targeting Mexico during his election campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump harshly criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement, a 23-year-old tripartite deal that removed tariffs and significantly increased commerce between Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Renegotiation of the deal is likely to start late this year.

As Trump has pointed out, NAFTA contributed to a U.S. trade deficit with Mexico reaching $63.2 billion last year. This is the country’s fourth-largest trade deficit, after China, Japan and Germany. America’s deficit with the other NAFTA nation, Canada, was slightly over $11 billion in 2016.

But that’s only part of the story. Remove cars and auto part imports, for example, and the U.S. deficit with Mexico virtually disappears.

Overall, NAFTA has been beneficial to Mexico, Canada and the United States alike. Since it was signed in 1994, foreign direct investments in Mexico have averaged 2.6 percent of GDP (compared to 1 percent for two decades before NAFTA). At present, annual bilateral trade between the United States and Mexico is running at $580 billion.

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