Brewing Team Emphasizes NAFTA Importance For U.S. Barley

Beer is Mexico’s top agricultural export to the United States. And Mexico purchases more U.S. barley to brew that beer than from any other market.

A team of Mexican brewing industry leaders is traveling in North Dakota and Montana this week to call attention to the policy that made this mutually beneficial trading relationship possible - the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The team - organized by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee and the North Dakota Barley Council - includes representatives from internationally recognizable beer brands as well as Mexico’s largest craft breweries and industry representatives.

“We welcome our guests and customers to the heart of barley country,” said Kimberly Atkins, USGC vice president and chief operating officer. “NAFTA is critical to the U.S. barley industry’s success and an important story of interdependence to share with our farmers and agricultural industry here at home.”

The terms of NAFTA allow U.S. barley and malt to enter Mexico duty-free, providing a competitive advantage that has fostered an increased integration of the value chains for U.S. barley and malt and Mexican brewing industries.

Mexico purchased more than 680,000 metric tons (31.2 million bushels) of barley valued at $220 million over the last 10 marketing years.  In turn, these exports generated $48 million in additional economic activity through the grain supply chain.

The team will discuss how U.S. barley and malt can continue to meet growing demand in this top market at the Northern Crops Institute in Fargo, North Dakota. Team members will also educate U.S. representatives on the importance of NAFTA to industries on both sides of the border in meetings at the Montana Ag Summit in Great Falls, Montana.

“The Mexican brewing industry is strong customer for U.S. barley producers, thanks to the preferential trade terms in NAFTA and three decades of work by USGC,” Atkins said. “In this growing and increasingly competitive market, the market access and tariff benefits U.S. barley producers have under NAFTA must be preserved.” 

For more information contact:
Melissa Kessler, U.S. Grains Council, MKessler@grains.org, (202) 492-3433
Cassidy Marn, Montana Wheat & Barley Committee, cmarn@mt.gov, (406) 761-7732
Steven Edwardson, North Dakota Barley Council, ndbarley@ndbarley.net,  (701) 239-7200

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About the U.S. Grains Council
The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, grain sorghum and related products. The Council believes exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture's profitability. Detailed information about the Council and its programs is contained on its website www.grains.org.

About the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee
The Montana Wheat and Barley Committee is a producer funded and directed check-off organization for wheat and barley growers in the state.  Its mission is to protect and foster the health and prosperity of the Montana wheat and barley industry. Visit montanawbc.com for more information.

About the North Dakota Barley Council
The North Dakota Barley Council was created by the 1983 North Dakota Legislature. Funded by a check-off of one cent per bushel on barley sales from 1983-2009 and a check-off of two cents per bushel on barley sales from 2009 to present, the Council supports research and development for new barley varieties, provides education and trade support to potential buyers, and seeks new opportunities to expand barley utilization in malting, livestock, and human food consumption. Visit the Council at www.ndbarley.net.