Audio: USGC Mexico Director Offers Positive Market Outlook Due To NAFTA

Mexico is currently the top importer of U.S. corn, the #2 customer for U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and a leading buyer of U.S. barley and sorghum, making it a critical market for our nation’s farmers. 

Ryan LeGrand, U.S. Grains Council's (USCG's) director in Mexico, was recently interviewed by the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) about the state of the market there and the outlook for the future. 

“Last crop year… we imported more than 13 million tons, and if you look at the calendar year of 2016, we are going to get very close to 14 million tons, so that will be two straight years of record corn imports for Mexico,” LeGrand said. 

According to LeGrand, under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), trade has quadrupled between the United States and Mexico. 

“Animal sectors in Mexico have greatly benefited from the phasing out of tariffs and quotas for U.S. corn and other grains into Mexico,” LeGrand said. “When NAFTA was implemented, the Mexican animal production sector was really in its infancy, and today it has grown into a state-of-the-art industry and rivals any of the top feed industries around the world.” 

LeGrand warns that if NAFTA’s preferences weren’t in place, U.S. farmers would feel the pinch. 

“It would be a pretty bad situation for American farmers if NAFTA is weakened. We really don’t want that to happen because what you would probably have is an increase in tariffs, and that would cause the Mexicans to look south — look to Brazil and Argentina — for more of their corn, cutting into our market share and eventually affecting the price of U.S. corn,” LeGrand said. 

Looking to the future, he said he believes Mexico has even more potential to grow as an importer of U.S. grains and even ethanol, as energy reforms create new openings in the fuel market. 

“As I mentioned, Mexico’s animal producers are very technologically advanced, they are progressive, they are growing, which means more production in Mexico and more need for grains — which should be U.S. grains as long as we keep NAFTA in place.” 

A two-video series about U.S. and Mexico grain trade success under NAFTA is here and here

For more information on the Mexico market and USGC’s efforts there, go to 
http://www.grains.org/worldwide-offices/market-profiles/market-profile-mexico.