U.S. and Mexico Need Resolution to Agricultural Issues Ahead of CUSMA
June 8, 2020
With a CUSMA rollout just on the horizon, some agricultural issues between the U.S. and Mexico remain unresolved.
Kenneth Smith Ramos, Mexico’s former chief CUSMA negotiator, says that Southern growers and USTR remain in discussions about seasonal produce concerns.
Seasonal produce growers mainly in Florida and Georgia had pushed for special provisions in CUSMA that would allow them to more easily petition for anti-dumping or countervailing duties on Mexico, but that was left out of the final deal. Still, they are pushing for an arrangement that will allow them to fight Mexican growers.
Mexican officials have also expressed concern over talk of the U.S. doing more border inspections. Mexico agreed to more frequent inspections as part of a tomato suspension agreement, but Smith Ramos noted there’s a push to extend that to other agricultural goods. Trump also recently suggested the U.S. should terminate any trade deal that allows live cattle to be imported, a move that would effectively invalidate CUSMA.
“On the Mexican side, we’ve seen lately quite a bit of regulatory backtracking primarily by the Environment Ministry that could be problematic because they are suspending import permits for agricultural biotech products even though they are in compliance with Mexican law,” Smith Ramos said at an event hosted by the Washington International Trade Association.
“Hopefully, those will be able to be cleared off the table and we won’t have a dispute, because agriculture is by far one of the biggest success stories of our trade relationship,” Smith Ramos said.