Mexico is ready to hit the United States where it hurts: corn.
Mexico is today one of the main buyers of American corn. And Mexican senator Armando Rios Piter, who heads a congressional foreign affairs committee, said he would introduce a bill this week where Mexico would buy corn from Brazil and Argentina instead of the United States.
It is one of the first signs of potential concrete action by Mexico in response to President Trump’s threats against the country.
“I’m going to send an invoice for the corn we buy in the Midwest and … change to Brazil or Argentina,” said Rios Piter, 43, to CNN’s Leyla Santiago on Sunday at an anti-Trump in Mexico. City.
He added: “It’s a good way to tell them that this hostile relationship has consequences, let’s hope it changes.”
American corn is a major part of the country’s food. In Mexico City, gourmet restaurants at taco stands across the street, corn favorites like tacos can be found everywhere.
Mexico ready to retaliate by hurting American corn farmers
America is also the world’s largest producer and exporter of corn. US corn shipments to Mexico have catapulted themselves from NAFTA, a free trade agreement signed between Mexico, America, and Canada.
American farmers sent $ 2.4 billion of corn to Mexico in 2015, the latest year of data available. In 1995, a year after the entry into force of NAFTA, corn exports to Mexico were only $ 391 million.
Experts believe that such a bill would cost American farmers dearly.
“If we do witness a trade war where Mexico starts buying from Brazil … we will see it affect the corn market and spread to the rest of the agricultural economy,” said Darin Newsom, principal analyst at DTN, an agricultural management company.
Another sign of Mexico’s willingness to respond to Trump’s threats is Rios Piter’s bill. Trump wants Mexico to pay for a border wall, and he threatens Mexican import taxes ranging from 20% to 35%.
Trump also wants to renegotiate NAFTA. He blames him for a flood of manufacturing jobs in Mexico. A non-partisan congressional research report found that this was not true.
Yet Trump says he wants a better trade deal for the American worker – although he hasn’t said what a better deal looks like.
Two weeks ago, all parties reported that negotiations would begin in May after a 90-day consultation period.
But Trump says that if negotiations aren’t on the deal he wants, he threatens to withdraw from NAFTA.
Such harsh speeches are not well received by Mexican leaders like Rios Piter. He is not alone. Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in January that Mexico would react “immediately” to all of Trump’s tariffs.
“It is very clear that we must be ready to be able to immediately neutralize the impact of a measure of this nature,” Guajardo said on January 13 in a Mexican news program.