U.S. Exports to Mexico Fall as Uncertainty Over Nafta Lingers


By Jacob Bunge, Dow Jones Newswires

via FOXBusiness - June 16, 2017


Friction between the U.S. and Mexico over trade is starting to cut into sales for U.S. farmers and agricultural companies, adding uncertainty for an industry struggling with low commodity prices and excess supply.


Over the first four months of 2017, Mexican imports of U.S. soybean meal, used to feed poultry and livestock, dropped 15%, the first decrease for the period in four years, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Shipments of U.S. chicken meat fell 11%, the biggest decline for the period since 2003. U.S. corn exports to Mexico declined 6%. Mexico is the largest U.S. export market for those commodities.


The numbers depict how Mexican companies are now increasingly buying grain on a short-term basis and purchasing more chicken from Brazil, troubling some industry officials and analysts. The trade data, which is the latest available, indicates that Mexico is starting to follow through on aspirations to buy food from a wider range of countries, and reduce reliance on the U.S.


"We have to send a signal to policy makers in Washington, and emphasize that we are not sitting still," said Raśl Urteaga Trani, head of international affairs for Mexico's Secretariat of Agriculture, who last month shepherded officials from 17 Mexican companies on a trade mission to South America, focused on corn, soybeans and wheat.


Mexico ranks as the third-largest customer for U.S.-produced farm goods overall...