As the months wear on in the negotiations between Canada, Mexico and the United States over the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the increasingly hard line from the USA has Mexican government and industry groups casting about for backup plans, you know, just in case. For months Mexican officials have been making noises about taking their business elsewhere, specifically sourcing yellow corn from South America, although clearly returning to NAFTA status quo would be their first choice. Mexican pork producers, for their part, have long fumed over the high volume of pork imports from the United States, and are now sensing an opportunity to strike back with NAFTA seemingly on the ropes. The following are examples of recent maneuvering against a backdrop of the sullen tone of current NAFTA negotiations. Continue reading NAFTA woes whet food producers’ appetites
Now that the United States is loudly breaking up with Mexico on social, Mexico is suddenly on the prowl for hot rebound trade with other markets. This is how it looks from here anyway, with Mexican officials popping up all over the media saying some country or other is going to be a big new market for Mexican exports. The new U.S. administration’s threats to dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are currently stoking the flames of economic terror in Mexico, but we all know that Mexico’s dependency on the U.S. export market has been the stuff of economists’ nightmares for decades. To put it in perspective, the share of Mexico’s annual exports shipped to the USA has not dropped below 79% since some time before 1993, if it ever has. From 1998 to 2001, the concentration of Mexican exports destined for the U.S. market hovered near a truly bloodcurdling 89%. So it’s not like we didn’t know we were exposed to risk from overdependence on one market, but after 25 years of trade-loving U.S. governments, we became accustomed to living in denial. Continue reading Mexico frantic to diversify export markets for some reason
When images of violent protests began streaming out of Brazil last month, some partisans here in Mexico may have felt a silent temptation to gloat. Certainly no one wants to see people hurt, or property destroyed, in any country. But considering the free ride Brazil received in international media in recent years – while Mexico was flogged like the family mule – a little tarnish on the South American giant’s reputation at least might be worth a dab of schadenfreude. We, however, are not feeling it, and the quicker Brazil recovers the path to peace and prosperity, the better for all concerned.
Brazil and Mexico are presented as rivals at times, considering their role as Latin America’s two largest economies and emerging-market stars. Readers of this blog know that we seize every opportunity to whinge about Brazil’s glamor-puss image while it plays dirty on trade policy. Continue reading Brazil troubles hold no payoff for Mexico