Mexico looks for trade alternatives as US considers renegotiations

Latin America

Corn field in Mexico

Trade will be high on the agenda when U.S. and Mexican officials meet in Mexico City this week, but Mexico will be bringing some power to the table.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras reports.

Mexico looks outside of U.S. for its corn supply

President Trump is considering high border taxes on Mexican products coming to the United States. But Mexico has some negotiating power it can use in the face of these threats. CGTN's Franc Contreras reports.

Some Mexican officials believe one of their strongest negotiating points comes in the form of corn. In 2015, Mexico’s corn purchases from U.S. farmers were valued at $2.4 billion.

A proposal this week in Mexico’s Senate would require Mexico to begin purchasing corn from Argentina and Brazil. Both those nations have expressed interest in a deal.

The tit-for-tat proposal comes from Senator Armando Rios Piter. He has said it’s a message aimed directly at U.S. grain producers in the Midwest who voted for Trump.

The senator’s proposal is a long way from becoming law. It must pass through the Mexican Senate and go before the lower house of Congress. However, it does show that México has some strong cards of its own to play when it comes to negotiating trade issues with the U.S.

Regional security is another issue Mexican officials have said gives them political capital with Washington. Mexico does accept U.S. financing to fight drug violence, but the country could step back from providing such security cooperation.

In recent years, Mexico has also increased its cooperation with the U.S. in efforts to curb undocumented migration coming from Central America. Mexico could pull back its important cooperation on both these crucial issues if the Trump administration pursues a trade war with Mexico.

Mexican officials hope to use these negotiating points to strike deals that will allow bilateral trade between the U.S. and Mexico. Trade between the two countries is valued at more than $500 billion a year to continue flowing.