Despite the goodwill generated after the U.S. and Mexico approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, there could be more tensions between the two countries surrounding produce. Mexico responded to a letter from the top U.S. trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, pledging protectionist measures on seasonal farm trade for producers in the politically important states of Florida and Georgia. Mexico says if the U.S. acts in any way against Mexican agricultural imports, it will respond in kind. The Deputy Trade Minister of Mexico says, “If the U.S. government takes any steps of this kind against Mexican agricultural exports, the Mexican government will apply similar measures to U.S. products.”
The head of the Mexican National Farm Council says he thinks the U.S. measures would likely target the more “successful” Mexican exports like tomatoes, berries, and mangos. Those exports are worth $12 billion every year and support about 1.4 million jobs in Mexico. The council president says this potential move is about U.S. politics and Mexico’s private sector is extremely concerned. In the January 9th letter, Lighthizer pledged to explore new protections for farmers in Florida and Georgia.