Mexico-Netherlands Virtual Trade MissionBy Jan Hogewoning | Wed, 11/04/2020 - 14:32
The outcome of the US election will have a significant impact on trade affairs over the coming years, in particular regarding USMCA and US political posturing on agro-product exchanges between the two countries. Republican representatives in Georgia and Florida have repeatedly voiced their concerns about what they see as ‘unfair’ trade conditions for US produce against Mexican exports. The current US president has not been afraid to threat Mexico with new tariffs. Earlier this year, MBN wrote about the possibility of new tariffs on Mexican agricultural products and the way in which conditions in the USMCA treatment could facilitate or restrict their imposition. Just yesterday, the Mexican Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, stated that Mexico could retaliate if the US decides to impose seasonal tariffs on Mexican products.
While the elections may have considerable impact on bilateral dynamics between the two countries, there was another significant event yesterday which has set a new precedent on how Mexico could strengthen its bilateral relationships. The Netherlands and Mexico opened the first virtual horticulture trade mission to Mexico. The event, which was initially scheduled to be face to face, will be conducted in full online mode over the next few days with over 160 meetings prepared between Mexican and Dutch representatives in the agricultural sectors. The mission was officially inaugurated by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Victor Villalobos and Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Carola Schouten. Important contributing and participating parties from the Netherlands include Transfer Latin Business Consultancy, Enterprise Europe Network Nederland, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), the Embassy of the Netherlands in Mexico and Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO) in Querétaro. The stated objectives of the mission are to increase technological cooperation and expand trade between both nations, given their productive potential and advances in protected agriculture innovation.
During his opening words, Villalobos stated that he wished Dutch companies would have the chance to learn more about the ongoing developments in the Mexican horticulture sector and that Mexican companies would learn about the technology, services and products that the Netherlands offers. He expects the mission will strengthen the commercial relationship between both countries, enabling strategic investment alliances in the agricultural sector that will allow expansion in the global market. “The digital revolution that is ongoing in agriculture through genomics and technology is led worldwide by the Netherlands, through its companies and universities,” he pointed out.
The Netherlands already has a strong trade relationship with Mexico. A quarter of all Mexican goods exported to Europe enter through the Netherlands. In addition, the Netherlands is the largest foreign investor in Mexico in the areas of beverages and tobacco. What makes this trade mission a step forward is that both countries agreed that agricultural systems need to embrace sustainability and the concept of circular economy. In specific, Villalobos pointed to ‘Plan Hortícola 2030’ (Horticultural Plan 2030), which he hopes can come to fruition with the collaboration of the Dutch. He stated that in the area of vegetables, legumes and fruits, there is significant opportunity to implement innovative systems. To mark their intentions, the two top representatives from both countries signed a memorandum of understanding.