Mexico Flies to Argentina as Trump Stirs Nafta Uncertainty

08.05.2017


Mexican 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.”

The U.S. is Mexico’s biggest supplier of corn, soybeans, wheat and rice, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology data. The trade visit next week is the clearest sign yet that Mexico’s threat to search for new supplies of grains, should the Trump administration place new tariffs on Mexican imports, is real.

One Argentine company has already taken the initiative. Adecoagro SA made its first sale of corn to Mexico about two months ago, a 38,000-metric-ton cargo due for shipment in August, Chief Executive Officer Mariano Bosch said in an April 6 interview.


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