Mexico, a market America's pig farmers can't afford to lose

ISU economist Dermot Hayes calculates that if Mexico places a 20% duty on U.S. pork, the industry eventually would lose the entire Mexican market.

Last week, the Trump administration announced it will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. The National Pork Producers Council released a white paper on the benefits of the trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico

The paper, which focuses primarily on trade with Mexico, makes the case for not abandoning the 23-year-old pact and for not disrupting trade in sectors for which the agreement has worked well.

For all U.S. goods and services, Canada and Mexico are the top two destinations, accounting for more than one-third of total U.S. exports, adding $80 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 14 million American jobs, according to U.S. government data.

Disrupting U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada, the NPPC paper points out, would have devastating consequences for America’s farmers and for the U.S. processing and transportation industries. U.S. pork producers would be particularly hard hit.

“A loss in exports to Mexico of that magnitude would be cataclysmic for the U.S. pork industry,” says Nick Giordano, NPPC’s vice president for global government affairs, who will share highlights of the paper at the “NAFTA: From Cars to Carrots” panel discussion hosted by the Global Business Dialogue later today. “Pork producers will support updating and improving NAFTA but only if duties on U.S. pork remain at zero and pork exports are not disrupted.”

The NPPC paper also notes that NAFTA has provided benefits beyond trade, including improved relations with Canada and Mexico, better regional investment and supply chains, increased cooperation with Mexico in fighting drug trafficking and terrorism and greater political stability in that country. (Click here to read the white paper.)

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