Release Jeopardizes Agricultural Relationship: Mexico and the USBy María Fernanda Barría | Thu, 03/25/2021 - 16:15
The commercial relationship between US and Mexican agribusiness companies is in jeopardy after a statement sent by US agricultural associations to Thomas Vilsack, US Minister of Agriculture, and Katherine Kai, US Trade Representative. “Mexico is one of the most important food and agricultural trading partners of the US. NAFTA has brought substantial benefits to both countries and USMCA promises to increase those gains. However, the agri-food trade relationship with Mexico has declined, a trend that the new agreement has not reversed,” the statement said.
In Mexico, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) is working on sustainable commercial agriculture for medium and large-scale farmers interested in exports, said Victor Suarez Carrera, Undersecretary of Food and Competitiveness, at a press conference. “The results offered by low or agrochemical-free and glyphosate-free production are a sign of responsibility and commitment.” As reported by SADER, the decision to eliminate glyphosate by 2024 is part of the administration’s interest in building new commitments in favor of human health, the environment, social justice, food sovereignty and technological independence. Turning agriculture into a biodiversity-friendly activity necessarily requires the intervention of technology but it also involves efforts to validate those technologies. The SADER statement also mentions the increasing barriers to trade in dairy products, organic certification requirements for export and the approval of biotechnology, among several other demands.
Another unprecedented request is related to the approval of biotech products. According to the US companies’ statement, “Mexico has created significant uncertainty for agricultural biotechnology by ceasing review and approval of any biotechnology applications since May 2018. As a result, Mexico has become a substantial barrier to the launch of new biotech products in North America.”
La Jornada recently reported that Tatiana Clouthier, Mexico's Minister of Economy, met virtually with Katherine Tai to discuss the two nations’ trade relationship following the press release.