Tag Archives: Mexico

The latest tomato agreement with Mexico shows the United States can work out trade disputes without resorting to tariffs and underscores the need to ratify the USMCA, the American Farm Bureau Federation said today.

 

“We are pleased and relieved to see progress with one of our largest and most important trading partners,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Mexico is a vital trading partner for American farmers and ranchers. We need this agreement and are grateful negotiators capitalized on the close relationship that exists between our two nations. We look forward to more progress on the trade front and are counting the days until the USMCA becomes law.”

 

Among other things, the tomato deal lifts current preliminary duties of 17.5% against Mexican tomatoes and suspends an anti-dumping investigation against Mexican producers begun earlier this year. The agreement also reinstates reference prices for various kinds of tomatoes to assure fairer pricing by Mexican competitors. The agreement is expected to take effect September 19, 2019 following a 30-day comment period.

 

All parties, including growers, back today’s agreement.

Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), testified before the Senate Finance Committee and urged Congress to swiftly ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

In addition to locking in a zero-tariff relationship with Mexico and increasing market access to Canada, USMCA also reforms Canadian pricing practices and addresses other nontariff barriers, like geographic indication requirements, that threaten U.S. sales. All told, USMCA will provide a $314 million-a-year boost to the dairy industry, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.

“Speaker Pelosi and Ambassador Lighthizer are working closely together to address any outstanding concerns surrounding the implementation of USMCA,” he added. “I encourage the Senate to play a constructive role in these talks in order to produce a final agreement that can be quickly passed and signed.”

A group of 14 Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi urging her to bring a vote by the end of the year on USMCA. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has reportedly told colleagues that Speaker Pelosi has committed to a vote on the revised NAFTA trade deal by October, according to Axios and as reported by Jim Wiesemeyer, Pro Farmer’s Washington analyst. Speaker Pelosi denies that commitment. The Trump administration, Axios reported, asked Pelosi to allow a vote on the USMCA as a side agreement to the budget deal, but she refused to put anything in writing.

In June, USDEC and 34 of its members signed a letter alongside nearly 1,000 farm organizations and rural businesses asking Congress to approve USMCA. One of those organizations, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), echoed support for Vilsack’s comments and urgency to bring USMCA to a vote.

“As Secretary Vilsack testified, USMCA delivers key wins for America’s dairy farmers and the exports that drive stronger sales. With USMCA, dairy farmers will see more export opportunities and greater trade certainty. Without USMCA, we lose out on $314 million in additional dairy exports. We also lose the benefit of the new rules this deal puts in place, such as key reforms to Canada’s dairy system and stronger safeguards for our cheese exports to Mexico,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO in a statement.

“We commend the Senate for spotlighting USMCA’s importance and strongly support the testimony offered by USDEC on how the agreement benefits dairy. To usher in USMCA’s improvements for dairy farmers and build momentum for additional trade agreements with key markets like Japan, we urge swift action to resolve any outstanding issues and secure approval of USMCA.”

The Mexican Olympic Committee said Wednesday it will no longer be able to offer food, lodging and medical services at its main sports training complex, the latest casualty in a round of deep budget cuts by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Seldom has a leftist been so obsessively austerity-minded as Lopez Obrador. In his first seven months in office, he has cut government posts and salaries, and drastically reduced spending on perks and benefits.

He also has cut his own salary and plans to sell off the presidential jet, saying: “We cannot have a rich government with the people poor.”

Lopez Obrador describes his financial plan as “republican austerity.”

But his cuts have begun to seriously hit everyone from athletes to archaeologists, who worry they won’t have enough money to carry out essential tasks. Critics say his government is spending the same amount of money, just reallocating it to different things.

The Mexican Olympic Committee said it lacks the $4.7 million needed to run the Olympic sports center in Mexico City with full services. The complex has track and pool facilities, as well as a gymnasium and velodrome. This year, government funding for sports is about 25% below 2018 levels.

Also this week, researchers and archaeologists at the National Institute of Anthropology and History said about 200 employees have been laid off since the start of the year, and more layoffs are feared.

“We have gone from republican austerity to Franciscan poverty,” said Joel Santos, head of the researchers’ union at the institute. Never well-paid, many experts are employed on temporary contracts.

Across the government, Lopez Obrador’s administration has eliminated consultancy and management positions, and thousands more public servants have resigned.

Economist Valeria Moy says the government has plenty of fat to trim, but notes that this year’s federal budget of $5.8 trillion pesos ($304 billion) is about the same size as the 2018 budget. Lopez Obrador took office in December, allowing him to craft the 2019 budget.

“There is money,” said Moy, “it’s just being redirected” to the president’s social and infrastructure projects, some of which appear to be “almost whims” that lack sound research to determine their viability or potential negative impacts.

Environmentalists and investors are concerned about several of the president’s top infrastructure projects, such as a train through the Yucatan Peninsula that has commenced construction without studies to show its impact on local wildlife such as jaguars. Another pet project, the multibillion-dollar Dos Bocas oil refinery in Lopez Obrador’s home state of Tabasco, is being undertaken by the heavily indebted state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos.

“It’s what the president decides, what the president wants — and that’s what’s done,” said Moy.

Finance Minister Carlos Urzua resigned last week citing similar concerns, saying the administration has taken public policy decisions “without sufficient sustenance.”

Everyone from scientists to doctors and police warn that the president is cutting to the bone.

Many blame the May air pollution emergency in the capital on over-ambitious budget cuts, because the Environmental Ministry lacked the tools and manpower to detect and combat brush fires that carpeted much of the country in heavy smog.

The country’s Science and Technology Consultative Forum, a sort of umbrella group of science academies and businesses groups, has warned that the cuts threaten research into everything from chronic diseases to climate change to agriculture.

“All of these activities could be seriously compromised if the austerity measures are applied indiscriminately,” the forum said in a statement earlier this year. “If that happens, it would be an irredeemable setback in Mexico’s effort to achieve robust national development, and would make us even more dependent on what occurs beyond our borders.”

Sioux Falls, SD – The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) hosted a tour in conjunction with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in Iowa last week to show nine decision-makers from key Mexican retail and supplier groups how ethanol blends have been successfully and profitably incorporated across Iowa.

 

Tour leaders Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President, and Lucy Norton, IRFA Managing Director, said tour participants were engaged and clearly enthusiastic about the prospect of adding ethanol blends to their businesses.

 

“The week’s events exceeded our expectations,” Lamberty said. “We wanted this tour to end any lingering doubt these marketers might have about implementing ethanol blends in Mexico. After seeing stations and equipment just like theirs being used to sell E10, and hearing station operators say they’ve sold ethanol profitably for decades without any issues, some who attended plan to do tests in the next several months, and when those tests go well, we’ll encourage those marketers to share their success stories with peers in Mexico, as ACE has done to develop markets in the U.S.” 

 

“We see this trip as just the beginning of a long relationship that leads to a new ethanol market in Mexico,” Norton said. “We were fortunate to have such an influential group participate that represented about 500 million gallons of fuel sales and distribution. IRFA was proud to showcase Iowa’s 40 years of success in marketing ethanol-blended fuels.”

 

Several tour attendees said they are ready for the many benefits ethanol can bring to Mexico, including lower-fuel costs, improved air quality, and quality fuel. Read testimonies from participants below.

 

“The entire tour has been a fabulous learning experience, even better than I expected,” said Agustín Tristán Aldave with Lexington Midstream, a midstream investor and provider. “What I was looking forward to the most was learning about the entire process from front to back, and it was incredible to see the innovation here in the U.S. I don’t see any reason why not to do [ethanol] it. Ethanol is cheaper and better for the environment, and these are important points to help differentiate yourself if you’re a retailer.”

 

“We need all the information we can to make a change in Mexico,” said Gerardo Cantú, Director of Petrorack, a fuel provider to the industrial market. “From the beginning of the first visit, the tour impressed me. I believe this is a good product for the customer and our country. We are short on gasoline and ethanol, so we need the supply from the U.S.”

 

“We understand the nature of the product and we see the benefits that it brings to the environment and to the consumer because of the lower price of the fuel,” said Fernando José Pereira Flick with Lodemo, one of the main retail service groups in Mexico, which operates the first private (non-PEMEX) marine terminal for fuels in Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. Lodemo is evaluating adding infrastructure to import ethanol.  “It’s something that we don’t need to test because it’s been proven by the U.S. fuel industry to be a quality product as we’ve seen on this tour. With the changes to the Mexican energy legislation, it has created an opportunity for the private sector.” 

 

“We’ve seen the successful case for ethanol in Iowa and I’d like to see that in my country, helping the people in the field and having a very good gasoline like the one you have here that’s helpful to the environment,” said Blanca Estela Coeto Mateo with SIMSA, the largest supplier of fuel to PEMEX. “I’d like to see the Mexican government working together with all the people with one goal, and I will express that with the people in Mexico about the successful case you have in this country.”

 

Daniel Beltrán García, who works with Comborsa, an importer and distributor of fuels near the U.S./Mexico border said, “As a private company, we recognize the Mexican consumer needs a better, cleaner product, and why not at a more competitive price? So, that is what we have learned in Iowa in the sense that ethanol provides exactly that.” Another fuel marketer, Roberto Spinola De Leo with Hidrosina, which operates 30 service stations in Mexico City, where E10 is currently banned said, “We’re ready for ethanol depending on the regulation being authorized for that to happen. Our companies need to do our part in supporting [changes to] ethanol regulations because it’s good for us, the consumers, and the country.”