Mexico, 7th largest protein producer, open to imports

Mexico has positioned itself as the 7th largest animal protein producer in the world. It has had this ranking since 2014. In addition to ranking high in chicken and egg production, it also does in feed production.

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Benjamin Earwicker |
Benjamin Earwicker |

Mexico has positioned itself as the 7th largest animal protein producer in the world. It has had this ranking since 2014. In addition to ranking high in chicken and egg production, it also does in feed production.

Many said during the negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. and Canada in the mid 1990s that the Mexican animal ag sector would be killed. It didn’t happen. Today, for instance, the poultry industry is thriving, even though poultry imports come from the U.S., Brazil and Chile.

In these last few days, the talk of the town has been the fact that Mexico has open borders to meat imports (beef and pork) from Brazil. But the Mexican government did the same with Argentinian beef last November. Animal protein imports also come from the U.S. and other countries such as Spain.

One of the reasons of doing so is to control domestic prices, particularly now with high inflation rates. However, in doing so, producer organizations complain that prices have not decreased for consumers and that small producers will go out of business.

On the other hand, producers are fearful about other animal diseases, such as African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease. The first has not yet appeared in the country, and the second has been eradicated since 1955. Let us remember that foot-and-mouth disease entered the country in the late 1940s from Brazil. And Mexico’s got enough with highly pathogenic avian influenza, so no more animal diseases are needed.

That is why Mexico and Brazil have agreed to work together in strengthening mutual cooperation in technical health issues concerning food. We’ll see how this works.

Nevertheless, many things pop up in my mind. In a country ruled by the left, international trade is fully open – kind of contradictory, in a way. While Mexico is open to imports of almost anything (13 free-trade agreements with 50 countries) and the other countries are happy to send goods to Mexico, they keep their borders closed to Mexican goods. Kind of imbalanced and unfair. One thing is for sure, Mexico needs to better market itself â€“ in all senses â€“ and strengthen in negotiations.

What do you think? 

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