Something that nobody wanted has started – a trade war. At least nobody on the south side of the Rio Grande wanted it, because on the other side it seems that it was wanted. In response to tariffs on steel and aluminum, the Mexican government has decided to impose several tariffs on various American farm products.
For many, that was a lukewarm response, or even timid, very timid, since Mexico "punished" the U.S. with tariffs on cranberries (how many cranberries do Mexicans eat?) and bourbon (maybe we do consume more this, but I doubt it is consumed more than tequila).
There are those who ask for tariffs on corn, but I don’t think that’s a good idea, at least for the moment. It takes a strategy. Warning: Yesterday, the Mexican newspaper Reforma published that, in 2016, Mexico imported 54,500 metric tons of corn from Brazil. By 2017, this figure increased to 583,200 metric tons, and in the first quarter of 2018 it is already at 107,000 metric tons.
However, there is a product of our sector that may be of our interest: pork with a 20 percent tariff, plus a quota tariff-free of 350,000 metric tons of legs and shoulders not coming from the U.S., which expires on December 31. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has already screamed bloody murder. Surely this week at the World Pork Expo, this issue must have been the talk of the town.
In 2017, Mexico imported 650,000 metric tons of pork legs and shoulders and 517,000 metric tons of chicken, with the vast majority of that coming from the U.S. But of course! Many will say: there is Brazil, Argentina or Chile. Coincidentally, all three are at the end of the continent.
Perhaps, because of the well-worn food security reason, things might not be changed, but I wonder: will all this be worth it? Let's not forget the law of supply and demand, and the consumer (and not to mention the jobs lost up north). This goes to all stakeholders. What do you think?