U.S.-Mexico trade relations will be one of the main topics of discussion at the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Spring Conference, which is set for May 24-26 in Minneapolis. Guest speaker Kenneth Smith Ramos, a former chief NAFTA negotiator for Mexico, said agricultural trade has thrived under NAFTA and its successor pact, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), bolstering food security across the continent.
“I’m delighted to be able to participate in the U.S. Meat Export Federation Spring Conference,” Smith Ramos said. “This is a great opportunity to talk about the importance of agricultural trade, especially in the meat sectors, between Mexico and the United States. I really am convinced that trade in the ag sector has been one of the most important success stories in the history of NAFTA, and now we should continue with the USMCA. We have very strong exports from the U.S. of course, in meat products, in oil seeds, grains, and quite a few exports from Mexico – primarily in fruits and vegetables that we can grow year-round. It’s really successful, you’re seeing other regions in the world that are suffering tremendously from some of the external shocks and the prices of commodities rising, lack of access to grains and flour. Whereas in North America, we do have a food security environment. We were set to concentrate on manufactured goods, we’re in reality at the end of the day, the most essential piece of trade between our countries, are our food products, both primary agriculture, and of course processed foods as well.”
Smith Ramos said it’s also important for the U.S. and Mexico to be mindful of these successes as they address specific trade challenges and establish future policies for agricultural trade.
“That’s precisely the focus of the presentation: to provide a panoramic view of where we are on trade between Mexico and the U.S. in ag,” Smith Ramos said. “And also looking at how we can first of all solve these disputes that are looming, whether it’s on corn and GMOs in Mexico, both having to deal with seasonality in the United States. So, the idea of the presentation is precisely to discuss how to solve these challenges so that we don’t go down the route of protectionism in the ag sector, and rather we continue taking advantage of this important agricultural trade relationship.”
For more information on the USMEF Spring Conference, visit usmef.org.